Peckham Labour councillor quits party

This in from Peckham Liberal Democrats:

Labour Councillor for Peckham Ward, Ola Oyewunmi has sensationally quit the party and applied to join the Liberal Democrats. In her letter of resignation she accused Labour of ‘running out of ideas, energy and time.’

Ola had been a member of the Labour party for more than 10 years and was elected as a councillor in 2006. Ola has worked with people with mental health problems for many years and it was a combination of Labour closing the emergency clinic at the Maudsley hospital and Nick Clegg’s commitment to a fairer deal for people with mental health problems that attracted her to the Lib Dems.

She says, “You have to ask what is Labour for when there are more children growing up in poverty after 12 years of a Labour government than there were under 18 years of a Tory one. When a Labour government sends our troops to fight an illegal war in Iraq at the whim of a right wing US President or allows mental health patients to wait an average of seven months for treatment on the NHS, it’s time to ask questions. No wonder so many of my friends and neighbours feel let down after 12 years of Labour government .

“I’ve also looked around at Peckham and Southwark and I’ve seen how locally the Lib Dems – led by Nick Stanton – have made a real difference. Cleaner streets, less graffiti, more recycling, faster housing repairs and a better chance of a good education – all transformed by the Lib Dems.”

Here is part of her resignation letter:

I have been a member of the party for over a decade and a councillor for three years, but I can no longer carry on. It isn’t an easy decision to make, but having thought about it for months I now know it is the right thing to do…

When there are more children growing up in poverty after 12 years of a Labour government than there were under 18 years of a Tory one you have to question what is Labour for? When a Labour government sends our troops to fight an illegal war in Iraq at the whim of a right wing US President, you have to ask what is Labour for? And when mental health patients have to wait an average of seven months for treatment on the NHS after 12 years of a Labour government and a Labour Health Secretary closes the Emergency clinic at the Maudsley hospital, you have to ask what is Labour for?

I have worked for many years with people who suffer from mental health problems. I want to see mental health patients treated fairly – after all one in four of us will suffer from mental health problems at some point in our lives – and having looked around I see there is only one party standing up for them and for what is right – Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats.

I’ve also looked around at Peckham and Southwark and I’ve seen how locally the Lib Dems – led by Nick Stanton – have made a real difference. Cleaner streets, less graffiti, more recycling, faster housing repairs and a better chance of a good education – all transformed by the Lib Dems.

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10 Comments

  • Call me a little cynical, but I do wonder why she’s chosen this particular time to jump ship – just before an imminent election defeat. Labour’s invasion of Iraq, the increase in the poverty gap and the shameful lack of support for mental health services are not exactly new now…

    Of course, perhaps it just takes people a while to come to terms with the fact that their party is rotten to the core, and challenge their assumptions. I hope this is the case here, and hope she is a productive, committed and successful Liberal Democrat.

  • Certainly we need more people championing issues like access to mental health provision. Welcome to the fold!

  • She is now recorded on the Southwark council website as an Independent. So what is she??

  • This councillor wanted to be a Labour councillor again, but was not re-selected largely because of her poor attendance record. She appealed against the decision to deselect her and only after failing to win her appeal did she decide to join the Lib Dems. No-one in Southwark Lib Dems expects her to be given a winnable seat in the local elections next spring.

  • She has resigned the Labour whip so sits as an independent. She has joined the Liberal Democrat party and has applied to join the libdem group on the council. A decision will be made on this by the libdem council group in January. Her stated intention is to stand as a libdem candidate for Peckham Ward (where she currently sits as a councillor). This will certainly be useful in keeping Labour on their toes in Peckham!

  • Harold Maddison 10th Jul '10 - 8:52am

    Well it does not surprise me,she was with labor who clearly dont care for the mentally ill, southwark council under the libs certainly did not improve,the first thing the libtories did was remove the freedom bus pass from the mentally ill after they closed all the day centers,now they are locked up 24 hours a day in the run down council tennaments,and nick cleg wants to put families back into these terrible blocks,can you imagine what it’s like living under a family of 5 in a one bedroom flat covered in a laminated floor?

  • Harold Maddison 10th Jul '10 - 9:18am

    We had two employees from Southwark Council turn up on our doorsteps at Harold Maddison House yesterday unaanounced and uninvited, the housing officer Jeanette Campbell and her sidekick “rent arrears” George threatening the residents with aledged rent arrears court action if they did not pay in full in 7 days, this was probably a libtory policy to frighten thoes tennants which the new labor council seems happy to hang onto, I wonder what was it like to live in communist russia, also you know they send us letters telling us they need the rent paid up so that they can maintain the block,yet under the libtory council not a penny was spent on my flat and the libtories were in power for 10 years yet not a penny of my rent was spent on my flat in all that time..oh we did have a fire exit sign put up outside my door except the fire “exist” (which happens to be the only entrance to the block) was set on fire a few months ago which of course has not been repaired yet.

  • Harold Maddison 10th Jul '10 - 9:35am

    Why is it the poor are the ones to always suffer your cuts whether you be lib tory or labor, 20% vat is a nice reduction to the poor along with bt robbing them with late fee payments and reconnection fees so much for been so concerned with mental health now that they have to suffer a political sharade with disability living allowance assessment when a benifit such as DLA has been awarded for life what does life mean,does it mean like unlimited broadband that is capped?

  • Harold Maddison 10th Jul '10 - 10:14am

    My goodness I did not realise how old this article is!

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