The Green Party candidate for Gillingham & Rainham at the last general election, Neil Williams, has defected to the Labour Party. Williams cited Jeremy Corbyn’s recent victory as the main motivation for his decision.
Williams, who presumably only a few weeks ago didn’t ‘support the aims and values of the Labour Party’, hasn’t always been quite so happy with the way the party does things:
Still, it’s all happy families now, with Medway Labour leader Cllr Vince Maple saying “it is great to welcome Neil to the Labour Party”.
Medway Labour have apparently seen a surge in membership over the past few weeks, presumably inspired by Jeremy Corbyn. It’ll be interesting to see how well these new members manage to work with the more traditional members of the party, and if any other candidates from the Greens or TUSC decide to make the jump to the party.
Added 25 September:
Of course, we’ve been here before, and that didn’t exactly go well.
A special in a series of posts, ‘inFrequently Answered Questions’ all Medway parties, MPs and candidates, have been invited to answer and we will update should further answers be presented.
The answers are presented here unedited.
If you have an iFAQ then leave it as a comment and we will attempt to get it answered for you.
“The first thing to say about the budget is that it is clear that having Lib Dems in government has made a difference over the past 5 years. It was OUR manifesto commitment to raise the threshold at which people start paying income tax, not the Conservatives. Thanks to us, over 25 million low and middle income earners have had income tax cuts of over £900. More than 50,000 of those people are in Rochester and Strood.
Another thing that will help people locally is the Help to Buy ISA, which will give people who are saving to buy their first home up to £3000, which with property prices as they are must be useful. And of interest locally, there is the reduction in the bingo tax, which will be welcome to all those who play at the bingo hall in Strood.
Less good are the Conservative and Labour plans for the future. Labour seems bent on going back to believing in the magic money tree, and the Conservatives are preparing their sharpest knives to cut public services to the bone. As for UKIP, who can say what they would do? The Lib Dems in the next government would borrow £70 billion less than Labour and cut £50 billion less than the Conservatives, sticking to the sensible middle ground. And that is what people should bear in mind when they think about who to vote for on May 7th.”
Prue Bray, Liberal Democrat PPC for Rochester and Strood
“As most people noticed there was no mention of the NHS in the budget.
I can only assume that was because the tories know they can’t say anything as the have cut funding to the NHS and will continue to do so and they know the electorate won’t accept that.
Medway hospital is surrounded by constituencies which have Conservative MPs. Indeed the MP for Gillingham is an Ex Labour councillor now Conservative MP.
During this current government Medway Hospital was put into special measures. This was all on the watch of the Medway tories. So when they start bleating on about supporting the NHS we all know it’s a complete lie. They as much as their leader want to see the NHS under increasing private control.
Labour are no better. It was under them that the infamous “Private Funding Initiative” was bought in and we all know that was privatisation through the back door.
There is only one group who would fully fight against ALL privatisation in the NHS and across ALL of our public services and that is TUSC. TUSC candidates are people who work in the NHS and other public services. We know the issues facing people of medway as we talk to them every day. Only TUSC candidates know what’s needed for our public services in Medway.”
Dan Burns, TUSC PPC for Rochester and Strood
“On the positive side, the reduction in the duties levied on beer, cider and whiskey will be well received, as will the raising of the 40p tax threshold for the middle classes.
The most significant thing for me was that the public outcry against public spending cuts has made Osbourne change his mind about creating a public surplus for 2020 from £23bn to £7bn.
This is a huge result, especially for Medway Council and our public services, eg Medway Hospital. Although he still plans severe cuts for the next 2 years, another £12bn (from where? We are already down to bare bone!) it does seem that Cameron has finally listened to the public…..ever so slightly!
Obviously this is all just tinkering for me, the establishment are still hell bent on robbing the poor to pay the rich, it’s just that they are a bit worried about triggering a revolution!
The really interesting thing was listening to Ed Balls stating that he wouldn’t reverse any of the Budget measures.
Just another shade of blue rather than red!”
Neil Williams, Green Party PPC for Gillingham and Rainham
“See my previous tweet for comment on budget. All in 140 characters. #brevity”
Jacqui Berry, TUSC PPC for Gillingham and Rainham