Socialist Worker

Birmingham councillor – ‘Why I joined Respect’

by Pete Jackson
Issue No. 2030

Birmingham councillor Abdul Aziz has joined Respect. Councillor Aziz had been an independent in the council chamber after he recently left the Liberal Democrats.

According to Councillor Aziz, “I left the Labour Party because of its support for the Iraq war, and hoped the Liberal Democrats would provide an alternative for the people of Aston.

“Unfortunately they have proved to be as bad as Labour when it comes to control freakery. They have let the people of Aston down.

“When Respect MP George Galloway spoke out against the war in front of the US Senate committee, I was glad to see someone who would fight for their beliefs.

“In Birmingham Respect councillor Salma Yaqoob, we at last have someone who is willing to stand up for her constituents.

“Her election was a breath of fresh air in the council chamber, and I am proud to become Respect’s second councillor in Birmingham.

“The main parties don’t allow you to speak freely. If you speak your mind they tell you it’s contrary to party policy.

“In a debate about the funding of the ‘regeneration’ group Aston Pride, I said it didn’t involve getting jobs for people in Aston.

“I raised questions about school places, but I was told not to say these things. Lib Dems told me if you want to speak the truth you shouldn’t be in politics.

“Truth and democracy should be the principles you work on, yet they are ignored by the Labour government and the other main parties. Respect does good work on this.”

Birmingham Respect councillor Salma Yaqoob said, “I am delighted to welcome Councillor Aziz to the Respect group on Birmingham City Council.

“We are looking forward to the 2007 elections where we confidently expect to make further gains.

“It is time for the main parties to be shaken out of their complacency, and Councillor Aziz’s decision to join Respect confirms that it is a growing force in Birmingham.”

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Sat 9 Dec 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2030
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