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Warrington: Anti-Cuts Councillor Gagged

3rd December 2014

Warrington: Anti-Cuts Councillor Gagged

Councillor Kevin Bennett of Warrington Borough Council, was previously suspended from the Labour Group for voting against cuts, Councillor Bennett is now threatened with the extension of this ban for the “crime” of speaking to the local press.

The background to this is that when Warrington Borough Council discussed outsourcing adult social care, Councillor Bennett called the decision in for scrutiny after an independent report (by the Association for Public Service Excellence) showed numerous concerns with the proposal. The scrutiny committee agreed with Councillor Bennett that the Council executive did not appear to have considered this report and told the Executive to discuss the matter again. When Council voted again, after a full 15 minute discussion, to outsource adult social care, Councillor Bennett told the local paper of his anger at both the decision and how it had been taken.
Apparently it was a condition of Councillor Bennett’s suspension from the Labour Group that he should not comment to the press. This is surely an outrageous restriction on the rights of an elected representative to publicly air his views, especially as Councillor Bennett had played such a prominent role in calling in the decision for scrutiny. It, in effect, says that he is not allowed to communicate his views to his constituents. Indeed the Human Rights Act – UK law - protects everyone’s right to “Free speech and peaceful protest – you have a right to speak freely and join with others peacefully, to express your views.” So we would argue that action taken against Councillor Bennett for speaking to the press is not only morally and politically wrong, but also illegal.

Please offer your support for Councillor Kevin Bennett:
at Warrington Town Hall, Sankey St, Bewsey and Whitecross, Warrington WA1 1UH

Protest to: The Chief Whip, Brian Maher, and the Leader,Terry O’Neill:
at Warrington Town Hall, Sankey St, Bewsey and Whitecross, Warrington WA1 1UH

Write to the Anna Hutchinson, the Regional Director at The Labour Party Regional Office,at:
Labour North West, Suite 97, Spencer House, Dewhurst Road, Birchwood, Warrington, WA3 7PG


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