Socialist Worker

Surrey councillor Peter Longhurst hands in his Labour Party membership card

Issue No. 2079

Longstanding Surrey councillor and postal worker Peter Longhurst this week resigned from the Labour Party after more than two decades of membership.

He spoke to Socialist Worker about what motivated him to leave. 'Resigning from Labour has been a long process for me,' he said.

'Like many other party members, I am absolutely against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

'When there was a march outside the party's spring conference in Glasgow in 2003, myself and a few other delegates from my constituency left the hall to join it.

'But the final straw has been the way Labour backed Royal Mail's management in the recent postal workers' strike.

'For a postal worker and CWU union activist like myself, that was like a kick in the teeth – from your own side.

'I had hopes that things might change when Gordon Brown became leader. He started using the phrase 'council housing' in a positive way.

'But even that rhetoric has all gone now. Now Brown only talks about 'affordable housing', with market rents and no security of tenure

Election

'Things came to a head recently, when there was a chance of an autumn general election. We held a selection meeting to endorse a candidate.

'When I asked him what were his views on the war, he said that the invasion had been the right thing to do. Well, there was no way I was going to campaign for a warmonger.

'The fact is that Labour today are no different in policy terms from the Tory party of 1997. That is true on health, housing, on war, and on backing the employers against the unions.

'Since I announced that I was leaving Labour I've been inundated with messages of support from people in the ward I represent.

'And at work, people have backed me – which is hardly surprising after the way that Labour treated us.

'Now I plan to stand again for my seat at May's local elections as an independent.'


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News
Tue 27 Nov 2007, 18:48 GMT
Issue No. 2079
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