Defection in Basildon
A LABOUR candidate for the local elections in Basildon, Essex, has joined the Socialist Alliance. Charlotte Armstrong is a lone parent and student who was selected to stand as Labour candidate in the council elections, due in many parts of Britain on the same day as the general election.
In her Pitsea West ward there is a campaign against a proposed new incinerator. Hundreds of people packed into a public meeting about the issue last week. But the Labour group on Essex County Council is backing the incinerator project. "I had a crisis of confidence because I could no longer defend New Labour's attacks on students, lone parents, the elderly and the disabled," says Charlotte. "These are the people that have always voted Labour, but now who do they turn to for a political voice? We have a Labour MP who voted for cuts in lone parent benefit and student funding, and she was on the committee that approved the 75p rise for pensioners which was an insult. That's why I am supporting the Socialist Alliance. I am not leaving Labour because of the ordinary members of the party, but because those members have been betrayed by their elected representatives in parliament."