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 Welcome to Blackburn Labour Party’s website. Here you can find out more about Jack Straw and information on our local Labour teams. Why not check out our blog, and tell us what your priorities are.

Kate Hollern is Blackburn candidate for 2015 General Election

Following the biggest Blackburn Labour Party meeting held in many years Councillor Kate Hollern, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council was this Sunday (30th March) selected as Parliamentary candidate for the 2015 General Election.

Almost 200 members packed into the Windsor Suite at King George’s Hall to hear the four candidates speak about their hopes to be selected for Blackburn and take questions from members.

 

Kate Hollern addresses Blackburn Labour Party members

Kate Hollern addresses Blackburn Labour Party members

Join the Labour Party and support our campaigns to oust the ConDems

Day after day more people join the campaign against the ConDems by joining the Labour Party.  In Blackburn we are seeing day in day out the impact of Tory policies on our communities.  Unemployment is up (whatever the Government might say) and shops and factories are closing.  At the same time the Government thinks it’s a clever idea to cut public sector spending – taking £27 million off Blackburn Council and forcing up to another 500 onto the jobless lists – and to cut the benefits of those on the lowest incomes already (through cuts to Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit, and by cancelling individual Jobseeker claims).  It’s ok though – because they are cutting taxes for the richest millionnaires in our country! We at the Labour Party are determined to fight against the kinds of policies mentioned above.  This country can’t afford a Tory Government.  If you feel the same way as we do please join the Labour Party and find out more about how you can help the campaign.  Click on the link https://www.labour.org.uk/join/

Blackburn’s lesser known Labour MPs

With the important hustings meeting taking place on Sunday we thought we’d look back into the archives of Blackburn Labour history and the MPs who have represented the town.  Most will know of Philip Snowden who was Blackburn’s first Labour MP and represented the town from 1906 to 1918 and later went on to become Chancellor of the Exchequer.  Barbara Castle, who represented the town in Parliament from 1945 to 1979 needs little introduction with her pioneering work on equal pay for women, the introduction of the seat belt and the breathalyser; and current MP Jack Straw is the town’s longest serving Parliamentarian of all, having represented the town for over 34 years as well as holding two out of the three ‘Great Offices of State’ (Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary).

However, three lesser known Labour Parliamentarians have also represented the people of Blackburn.

From 1929 to 1931 the then two member seat was won by Harry Gill and Mary Hamilton.  This being the first election at which women aged over 21 could vote the electorate rose from 65,000 to 86,000 and the new electorate duly responded by returning the town’s first ever female MP.

Gill and Hamilton as shown in their 1929 Christmas Card

Gill and Hamilton as shown in their 1929 Christmas Card

After 1931 the double seat was held by the Conservatives until Labour re-gained both in the 1945 Labour Landslide, with Barbara Castle being voted in alongside Lewis John Edwards.  Sadly Edwards lost in 1950 when Blackburn constituency was changed from a two member seat to an ‘East and West’ seat with the West being more rural and Conservative leaning.  He went on to represent Labour in Brighouse and Spenborough and was briefly Economic Secretary to the Treasury.  Edwards died young at 55 whilst on European Council Business in Brussels in 1959.

John Edwards Labour MP 1945-1950

Bingo Tax cut – Osborne’s budget proves how out of touch Tories are

In an astonishing show of how patronising and out of touch the Tory Government really is George Osborne’s main announcement  in yesterday’s budget was that bingo tax is to be cut. Never mind the fact that wages have dropped, the economy is stagnant and people are forced to live off food bank handouts. public schoolboy Osborne said nothing about investing (a VAT cut would be a great way to stimulate the economy). Instead Osborne thinks he can keep ‘hardworking people’ (code for peasants) quiet by encouraging them to spend their hard earned cash in bingo halls!

It’s time for change – only Labour can turn this round in 2015.

Members attend Parliamentary candidate ‘meet and greet’

Sunday 16th March saw almost 60 local Labour members visit Accrington Road Community Centre for an informal chance to meet candidates and hear about their priorities for Blackburn. the selection process will be concluded on Sunday 30th March.

meet and greet

Anthony Wedgewood Benn 1925-2014

Tony Benn in full flow!

Tony Benn in full flow!

Friday 14th March 2014.  Today the Labour Party mourns the loss of one of the greatest figures in its history.  Many Blackburn Labour Party members met Benn over the years and were witness to his impassioned speeches on the values of socialism.  He will be sadly missed and his contributions recognised for many years to come.

Benn with his trademark pipe

Benn with his trademark pipe

Parliamentary shortlist announced

Following a series of interviews with candidates the Blackburn Labour Party selection committee has announced that members will choose from the following shortlist of hopefuls: Naheed Arshad-Mather Ann Courtney Kate Hollern Sara Ibrahim the selection process will be concluded on Sunday 30th March

Large Attendance at Brownhill Residents’ Meeting

Around 70 residents filled Holy Souls Church Hall at Jack’s most recent residents’ meeting on Friday 28th February.  Speeding traffic on Parsonage Road, the economy and Blackburn’s regeneration were amongst the issues raised.  A number of residents complimented Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council for its efforts to keep services going in spite of massive Government budget cuts.

Jack addresses residents at Holy Souls RC Church Hall

Jack addresses residents at Holy Souls RC Church Hall

Dorothy Walsh (1935-2014)

Blackburn Cathedral was packed with relatives, friends and former Labour Party comrades as people gathered to remember Councillor Dorothy Walsh who had passed away following a short illness. Attendees, including Blackburn’s MP, Jack Straw, were united in grief and recognition of Dorothy’s contribution to Blackburn Labour Party over the past quarter of a century.

Dorothy Walsh as Mayor, at the opening of Hancock Street Children's Centre

Dorothy Walsh as Mayor, at the opening of Hancock Street Children’s Centre

Nomination Process for 2015 General Election well underway

As members will know the process for the selection of Blackburn’s next Labour parliamentary candidate is underway and will conclude within the next few weeks.  Members of all 15 wards have been attending nomination meetings prior to the selection committee drawing up a final shortlist.  Hustings will follow next month and then there will be a final vote of all members.  If you have any questions about the process please get in touch.

Hardy residents turn out for first residents’ meeting of 2014

About 25 hardy residents braved gales and monsoon rains to attend Jack’s first residents’ meeting of 2014 at St Luke with St Philip Church on Bank Top.  Attendees from the Griffin, Galligreaves, Redlam and Witton areas raised concerns about public transport, the environment and the future of Griffin Lodge, which was the target of an arson attack recently.

Council Environment Director, Sayyed Osman addresses the meeting at St Luke's Church

Council Environment Director, Sayyed Osman addresses the meeting at St Luke’s Church

 

 

Traffic and parking issues raised at Lammack residents meeting

Highways issues were the most notable concerns raised at Jack Straw’s final residents’ meeting of 2013, held at Lammack Primary School on Friday 29th November.  The areas with the most problems were noted as Lammack Road, Whinney Lane and Ramsgreave Drive.  Sections of Beardwood were also mentioned at the well attended meeting.

Jack Straw addresses residents at Lammack School

 

Jack Straw awarded ‘Lifetime Achievement in Politics Prize’

The Political Studies Association, at its annual award ceremony  to honour the contribution made by politicians, academics, journalists, and campaigners to another historic year of political activity, announced Blackburn MP Jack Straw’s award this Tuesday. Jack Straw was selected for a Lifetime Achievement in Politics award by the PSA for his profound and sustained contribution to political life in Britain over more than thirty years. He has held two of the Great Offices of State, first as Home Secretary from 1997 to 2001, and then as Foreign Secretary from 2001 to 2006. An astute political operator, popular in the House of Commons with MPs from all parties, he cleverly avoided being too closely associated with the factionalism that characterised the Labour party under Blair and Brown, and played a pivotal role in the passing of the Human Rights Act 1998. The event, held in the heart of Westminster at Church House, was hosted by Michael Crick of Channel 4 News. CEO of the Political Studies Association, Helena Djurkovic, said: “Jack Straw is undoubtedly one of the major figures of the Labour Party. He has had a significant impact on the political life of this country for over thirty years but particularly for his work steering through human rights and race relations legislation that he is to be commended.”

Business as usual in Blackburn – Friday 8th November

In spite of Jack’s big announcement during October it was business as usual on Jack’s constituency day last Friday (8th November).  Amongst Jack’s engagements were a visit to local employer, Heritage Envelopes of Davyfield Road, where Jack presented a long service certificate to Steven Morgan; 27 groups of constituents met with Jack at his Mill Hill and Little Harwood advice surgeries and the day finished with a well attended Residents’ Meeting at St Francis School, Cherry Tree.

Jack presenting 25 year service certificate to Steven Morgan of Heritage Envelopes

Jack chairing the St Francis (Cherry Tree) residents’ meeting

 

Jack Straw to step down at 2015 General Election

Blackburn MP, Jack Straw announced to local Labour Party members at the October 2013 meeting that he will be retiring in 2015 after 36 years in Parliament.  Mr Straw had achieved the milestone of becoming Blackburn’s longest serving MP ever in March of this year.  Members were unanimous in their applause for Jack’s contribution to the town during his period of office and look forward to working for him up until his retirement and in the coming years.

Lots of issues raised at Jack Straw October Residents’ meetings

Residents were vocal at both of Jack’s October residents’ meetings – held at Bangor Street Community Centre and Ewood Park respectively.  Issues raised varied from concerns about the general state of the economy to concerns about speeding traffic and ‘racing’ on Whalley New Road to questions about how the Pennine Reach scheme will be implemented.  Jack will be in Lammack and Cherry Tree during November.

Jack speaking at Ewood

Jack speaking at Bangor Street Community Centre

The spirit of the Labour Party – helping out colleagues in the Ribble Valley

Blackburn Labour members (joined by Jack Straw) have been out in force helping out friends in the Ribble Valley.  An important Council by-election took place in Clitheroe on Thursday, 1st August, after the sitting Tory Councillor was forced to step down due to her non-attendance at Council meetings.  It’s some years since Clitheroe had a Labour Councillor but we’re working hard to get back onto the Council and ensure that there is a voice in the Council offices to speak for the many Clitheroe residents who are currently excluded from local politics because all of the sitting Councillors are from the Conservative or Lib Dem Parties – the very Parties that are implementing damaging policies which are punishing those on low incomes for the failings of greedy bankers – whilst cutting taxes for the richest in our society.

Standing united against the Bedroom Tax Blackburn demonstration Friday 5th April 2013

Residents, tenants, trade unionists and Labour Party members stood together in protest at the Government’s Bedroom Tax.

Brian Holliday of Blackburn Tenant’s Federation addresses

Ten years of residents’ meetings – celebrated at Ivy Street Community Centre

Friday 15th March 2013.  Jack Straw returned to the scene of his first ever residents’ meeting, which had taken place ten years and two weeks previously on the 28th February 2003.  It’sIvy Street residents' meeting amazing to think that what initially was intended as a one off session to hear residents complaints about crime and poor housing would become an established part of Jack Straw’s role as Blackburn MP.  Over 100 meetings have since been held around Blackburn – in venues as varied as Community Centres, schools, churches and even the press suite at Ewood Park.  The continuing popularity of these meetings has ensured that they are generally accepted as one of the best ways of local people holding those in charge of decision making personally accountable.

4th March 2013 – Jack Straw – Blackburn’s longest serving MP (ever!)  33 years, 9 months, 27 days (so far)

On March 3rd Blackburn’s MP, Jack Straw, passed a major milestone – beating his predecessor Barbara Castle’s record as the longest serving MP since the Parliamentary seat for Blackburn was established in 1832.  The next longest serving MP for Blackburn was Conservative, Sir William Coddington, who held the seat for 26 years, from 1880 to 1906. Bill Jacobs of the Lancashire Telegraph interviewed Jack recently.  To view his article visit the Telegraph website http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/10263163.Jack_Straw___I_m_going_to_stand_at_the_next_General_Election_/

Jack Straw – commemorating victims of the Holocaust

Recently Jack signed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who died during the Holocaust. Sunday January 27th marked the 68th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi concentration and extermination camp which is the site of the largest mass murder in history. In the weeks running up to the day, the Holocaust Educational Trust placed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, giving MPs the chance to honour those who were persecuted and killed during the Holocaust and encouraging constituents to work together to combat prejudice and racism today. In signing the Book of Commitment, Jack paid tribute to those who perished during the Holocaust and honoured the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people about what they endured, through the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Outreach programme.

Tories target deprived areas yet again – Blackburn amongst the worst hit.

Yet again our Conservative Government, backed by the Liberal Democrats, is seeking to punish those on low incomes, living in deprived areas, for the irresponsible behaviour of the banking sector.  Blackburn with Darwen – already having to deal with the last round of Government budget cuts which took a quarter of the budget – is now facing further cuts of up to 20% more – making it even more difficult to keep services going.  At the same time the Government persists with its policy of tax cuts for millionnaires! Read Kate Hollern’s blog for more.

Countdown to the end of Cameron’s cronies!

As we welcome in a damp and grey 2013 the fight against the cruel and destructive policies of Cameron’s Tories and Nick Clegg’s Lib Dems resumes.  The General Election is now less than 3 years away and with the Tories boundary changes set to fail we will be supporting colleagues in a number of Tory marginal constituencies so that they have even fewer seats after the next election than they do now.  Comments made by the likes of Cameron – who thinks the country’s going in the right direction! Duncan-Smith – who says that Tax Credits (helping people into work) have created benefit dependency! and Eric Pickles who thinks that all Councils need to do to save the £millions he’s announced is stop provision of mineral water at meetings!  Continue to prove what a bunch of out of touch buffoons are in charge of the country. If you would like to help with our campaigns please join the Labour Party by following the link on this website.

Lancashire Police and Crime Commisioner results (15th November 2012)

The result of the PCC election for Lancashire is as follows Clive Grunshaw – Labour:  79790 Tim Ashton – Conservative:  73262

Thank you for your support in the Police and Crime Commissioner Election.

In November the people of Lancashire elected Clive Grunshaw as the area’s first ever Police and Crime Commissioner.  This person will be solely responsible for the County’s policing policy.  This includes decisions about how policing is carried out as well as how the budgets are spent. Clive Grunshaw was previously a member of the Lancashire Police Authority for many years and has experience of policing policy.  He is committed to protecting front line police as much as possible in the face of ConDem Government budget cuts.  More about Clive can be found at http://clive4lancspcc.wordpress.com/ Labour’s record on the police speaks for itself – under the last Labour Government crime fell to its lowest levels for almost 40 years.  Police numbers increased.  We introduced Police Community Support Officers as well as putting 16,500 more bobbies on the beat. The current ConDem Government are cutting police budgets and police numbers as a result – already 5000 have been lost.  As the economic downturn takes a grip crime is bound to increase so it’s important that we have a strong, well resourced police force targetted at areas of most need.

Jack Straw faces the public – Residents’ meeting at Greenfield Community Centre and Open Air Meeting on King William Street

Jack Straw was out and about meeting local residents’ last weekend (9th to 11th November 2012) with a number of public engagements.

Jack speaking at Greenfield Community Centre

On Friday evening he attended one of his regular Residents’ meetings – this time visiting Greenfield Community Centre on Green Lane, where he heard residents concerns on a number of issues ranging from planning matters to housing and parking concerns. On Saturday morning Jack was back in his usual spot on King William Street for an lively open-air meeting.  Amongst the issues discussed were policing, the US election results and economic policy – including Labour’s record compared to the current Conservative Led Government. On Sunday Jack attended the Remembrance Service at Blackburn Cathedral followed by the annual wreath laying at Corporation Park.     Coalitions don’t work – we told you so in Blackburn! The recent farcical bickering between David Cameron and his junior coalition partner Nick Clegg highlights the ridiculousness of coalition politics.  We now have a situation of tit for tat behaviour resulting from broken promises within the coalition – so the Tories ‘promised’ the Lib Dems that they would support Lords reform and the Lib Dems ‘promised’ the Tories they would support the boundary review.  Forget the broken promises to the Country – like how the Lib Dems said that they would oppose VAT rises and increases in tuition fees. But in Blackburn we already knew that coalitions don’t work.  Our borough suffered for three and a half years under the incompetent management of a three way coalition between the Lib Dems, Tories and For Darwen Party, which spent more time (and tax-payers money) buying off each partner in order to cling onto power.  The last three years has seen the public wholeheartedly reject coalitions – with Labour gaining 17 seats since February 2010. Lets hope the rest of the country sees sense when the nation gets its next chance to vote in a government!

A clear message from Blackburn to the ConDem Government – change your policies or you’re out!

Last week’s local elections in Blackburn with Darwen sent a clear message to the Government – we are not happy with your unfair policies which are punishing hard working ordinary people and the vulnerable and elderly whilst letting top earners off scott free. Labour gained 7 seats this year – 4 in Blackburn and 3 in Darwen.  There are now just 8 Tory Councillors in Blackburn and the Lib Dems have been wiped out. With a total of 45 seats (out of 64) on the Council the Labour Party will now be working hard to ensure services continue in spite of ever harsher Government cuts. Amongst the most notable gains were Roe Lee – where Sylvia Liddle ousted former Tory Parliamentary candidate Michael Law-Riding; and Meadowhead where Ashley Whalley beat longstanding Tory Brian Gordon.  Whilst in Bastwell the last Lib Dem seat fell to Labour – Shaukat Hussain polling an amazing 2134 – the highest vote for any candidate in East Lancashire.

Local Elections 2012: LIVE RESULTS

Check back here on May 4th for live updates and results from the count at King Georges Hall

Save our NHS – you can’t trust the Tories with our health service

We always knew that David Cameron’s Tories couldn’t be trusted with the future of our NHS.  And the Health and SocialStop the Tories Care Bill proves that they are determined to break the NHS up and introduce back door privatisation.  It was a dream of millions that all people should have access to top class medical treatment, free at the point of need, and it was the Labour Government which introduced it.  And the last Labour Government invested many millions in increasing the numbers of doctors and nurses, cutting waiting lists, making sure new hospitals were built, and saving lives.  All that has now stopped and medical professionals themselves have confirmed that the Government’s plans will damage the NHS.  In Blackburn and across the country the Labour Party has launched a campaign to Drop the Bill – we’ve had petition signing sessions over the past couple of weeks and have already got hundreds of signatures in support of our campaign.  Even if you don’t live in Blackburn please encourage your MP to raise the issue in Parliament.

 

Blackburn Labour Party supports Council ‘Your Call’ campaign

The budget cuts being introduced by the ConDem Government mean hard times for many people – particularly inLocal resident - Carol Walsh helps out areas like Blackburn with Darwen – where the additional loss of ‘Area Based Grants’ has meant £millions more lost from the budget – affecting schemes such as Housing Market Renewal.  These grants were introduced and targetted specifically at deprived communities to assist in improving peoples lives – HMR alone has meant £tens of millions have been invested in Blackburn. However, this loss of Government money has not resulted in our Labour Council sacrificing its commitment to helping communities.  Under Kate Hollern and her team’s leadership the Council has worked to protect core services and invest where possible.  And the ‘Your Call’ campaign is a big part of this – highlighting to residents how difficult things are at the moment and how residents can help to keep the town going.  Many residents around Blackburn have been involved in clean ups and other events and the Council is supporting community groups in organising their own events.  Visit the Council website www.blackburn.gov.uk for more information.

Thousands demonstrate in Blackburn

Mr Cameron says ‘we’re all in it together’!

Trade Union members, Labour Party members, public sector workers and private sector workers came together in their thousands in Blackburn town centre today (November 30th) to demonstrate against the ConDem Government attacks on public sector pensions and to demand fair pensions for all. Lets make this more than just a one off strike and demonstration.  This must be the start of a concerted effort to get the message across and get this ConDem Government, led by multi-millionaires out, and a return to fair policies. Visit the link to see a video of the rally.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmjiE1MuYJ8

Thousands of demonstrators outside Blackburn Town Hall

Demonstration and march in Blackburn Town Centre – 30th November at 11.30am

Members of Blackburn Labour party will be supporting public sector workers on Wednesday 30th November as they converge on King William Street in Blackburn Town Centre to demonstrate on ConDem Government attacks on Pensions.  Cameron’s cronies are determined to punish those working in vital services for the greedy actions of bankers across the world – dipping into pension funds that workers have contributed to over many years – as they try to balance the books of the UK’s failing economy. It’s time the Government was sent a message that its cruel policies just aren’t working so please support the demonstration on November 30th.

Protecting services in Blackburn – in spite of the ConDem cuts

Blackburn Labour Party is committed to ensuring that the best possible services for the residents of Blackburn and since taking control of the Council a year ago our Councillors have been working hard to preserve these services in the face of the harshest Government funding cuts in living memory. Cameron, Osborne and Clegg are determined to punish the ordinary hardworking people of towns like Blackburn for the failings of the greedy bankers whilst pushing for cuts in Income Tax for the richest in society.  Same old Tories – nothing changes does it!  By increasing VAT and cutting public sector spending they’ve caused the economy to grind to halt and jeopardised the fragile recovery that Labour had begun. Recent announcements such as the redundancies at BAE Systems will no doubt affect jobs in supporting industries in and around Blackburn. Only Labour is on your side.  We’re keeping local services going, trying to stimulate growth where we can and fighting against the ConDems both in elections and around the country. If you would like to join the fight against the ConDems why not join the Labour Party – click the ‘get involved’ link on this website.

Labour endorsed by Blackburn electorate amidst fantastic Local Elections – 5 seats gained across Blackburn and Darwen

Following a hard fought campaign across Blackburn and Darwen Labour came out comfortably on top with 5 seats gained from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and For Darwen.  In the seats Labour was defending majorities were increased across the board as the Labour vote remained almost as high as in last year’s General Election. In Blackburn Lib Dem Muntazir Patel was beaten by Labour’s Hanif Khonat, whilst the Tories were beaten in Meadowhead and Roe Lee.  In Darwen the Leader of the For Darwen Party – Tony Melia – was beaten by Labour’s Brian Taylor and Lib Dem Simon Huggill was beaten by Frank Connor. ‘This is a wholehearted rejection of the ConDem policies that are wrecking the good work done by the last Labour Government in securing a stable economy and protecting jobs’, said Blackburn Labour Party Chair, Damian Talbot, who had been re-elected to the Mill Hill Ward – doubling Labour’s majority in 2007. ‘We would like to thank all those who came out to support Labour in these elections and we will be working hard to protect services and jobs in spite of crippling Government cuts’, said Labour Party Secretary, Phil Riley, after beating Tory stalwart, Maureen McGarvey, in Roe Lee Ward. Visit our Local Election page for details of the campaign and of your local Labour candidate.

Osborne’s Budget

The recent budget announcement reinforced mounting evidence that the Tory-led government are going too far and too fast in cutting the deficit. George Osborne and David Cameron have gambled everything on their plan to cut the deficit over 4 years. Figures announced, however, show that their plan is not working- unemployment is rising, inflation is rising and growth is being revised downwards. Unemployment: Taking into account all the measures in the Budget the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) announced yesterday that they expect the unemployment claimant count to be around 30,000 higher this year than predicted last November and around 80,000 higher next year. Growth: The OBR figures revised down growth figures for 2011 from 2.1% to 1.7% and from 2.6% to 2.5% for next year. Borrowing: As a result of the disappointing growth figures, rising unemployment and higher interest rates the Government will be borrowing £43.3bn more over the coming period. Fuel: In what is quickly becoming a cost-of-living crisis motorists across the North West are now paying 132.4p on average for unleaded petrol, up from 121.7p last December. The 1p cut in fuel duty, announced yesterday, will not distract hard-working families from the Chancellor’s decision to raise VAT on petrol, which has increased the price at the pumps by 3p. As the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said; the Tory-led Government are, “giving with one hand… and taking away with lots and lots of other hands”. When Labour were in Government last year growth figures were rising, unemployment was falling and as a result the government was borrowing less money than expected. As Ed Miliband has said; the Tory deficit reduction plan is, “hurting but it is not working. Sources:

  1. http://cdn.hm-treasury.gov.uk/2011budget_complete.pdf
  2. http://cdn.budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/economic_and_fiscal_outlook_23032011.pdf

 

Solving a problem we didn’t know we had

A report on the the government plans for directly elected Police Commissioners

Sad times ahead for our town and its citizens

Council Leader Kate Hollern updates on sad and worrying times in Blackburn. Blackburn with Darwen’s Executive Board has put put in train a process that ultimately will lead to around 1000 people losing their jobs and from the end of March we will see Council services slashed and in some instances discontinued all together. For more detail on the cuts inflicted by the Tories and Lib Dems click here

Change the record Dave – Tory arguments about the deficit just don’t add up

At this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions David Cameron yet again persisted with his lame attempts to pass the buck for the mess his Government is making of the country by claiming that they are trying to sort out a deficit caused by Labour and which apparently needs to be cut drastically and immediately.  Labour Leader Ed Miliband was quick to respond pointing out that the economy would only improve by use of stimulus to encourage spending – and not cuts to public spending and increasing VAT.  It’s interesting to contrast the current Government’s tactics at present to those when Labour was in power – when the recession began Labour cut VAT to 15% to stimulate spending, reduce firms tax bills and maintain jobs, now the Tories have put VAT up to 20% which will lower spending, cost jobs and put businesses at risk; Labour invested to save the banks from collapse – protecting people’s savings and ensuring businesses could continue to function – saving thousands of jobs from being lost – the Tories are slashing public spending so not only will hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs be lost but the knock on effect in the private sector (which supplies the public sector) will be disastrous – witness the obscenity of Nimrod aeroplanes being cut up for scrap.  This policy is so idiotically short sighted that even Dave Cameron and his public school educated upper class chums (or is it chumps) don’t realise that the cost to the taxpayer will actually increase as more people are forced to claim benefits through losing their jobs.  Blackburn Labour Party is engaging in a public information campaign to tell people the facts about the way the ConDems are wrecking this country – visit the link to read in detail about the facts on debt versus deficit Labour DebtBrief2011

We need serious debate about voting rights for prisoners – says Jack Straw

Blackburn MP, Jack Straw has combined with the Conservative back-bencher, David Davis, to force a House of Commons debate and vote on the controversial proposal to give prisoners the right to vote in General and European Elections. The proposal follows a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights and will give all prisoners who are serving a sentence of less than four years the right to vote. The subject has never been debated in Parliament and it has previously been assumed that there would not be a majority in favour of the change but the Coalition government has bowed down before the Court’s ruling raising serious questions about the relationship between the UK Parliament and the European Court. Jack Straw said ” This is a really tricky issue – I had to handle it for three years in the knowledge that there was no majority in the House of Commons for this change. One of the main arguments of the Strasbourg court is that there has not been a substantive debate on the policy. What we are saying is let’s have an early debate on the policy now.”  

Fatal Flaws in the ConDem deficit argument

At a recent meeting of the Blackburn Labour Party, attended by MP, Jack Straw, there was much debate surrounding the ConDem Government’s repeated claims that the harsh cuts it is imposing are caused by the national budget deficit which they took over from the outgoing Labour Government.  The ConDem argument is now under intense scrutiny and is quickly crumbling as a result.  There’s sure to be more debate but just to open it up have a look at these articles recently published in ‘The Investor’s Chronicle’ http://www.investorschronicle.co.uk/Columnists/ChrisDillow/article/20100920/b6bdf3ea-c4ac-11df-b281-00144f2af8e8/The-deficit-threat.jsp and http://www.investorschronicle.co.uk/Columnists/ChrisDillow/article/20100215/1b8f8020-1a1e-11df-b0bd-0015171400aa/The-myth-of-the-structural-deficit.jsp

Labour scores great victory in Oldham by-election

The people of Oldham voted with their feet yesterday (13th January) and emphatically endorsed the Labour candidate Debbie Abrahams who won with a majority of 3500.  The Tory vote was down by 7000 showing that the public are rejecting the policies of the Condem coalition Government. A number of Blackburn members travelled over to Oldham and Saddleworth to help colleagues get the vote out and thanks to a great team effort Labour’s majority was significantly up on last May’s General Election.  MP Jack Straw also gave his time during the campaign – holding open air meetings in Uppermill and in Oldham Town Centre. For more commentary on the Oldham and Saddleworth by-election read Phil Riley’s blog at Left Foot Forward on http://www.leftfootforward.org/2011/01/labour-oldham-by-election-successful-strategy/

Concerns about female sexual exploitation

There has been extensive media attention following the recently publicised conviction of two men in Derby for ‘female grooming’, and Blackburn’s MP, Jack Straw was interviewed on the matter last weekend due to work being carried out by Blackburn with Darwen Council and the local police to tackle similar cases in the Blackburn area. To view Jack’s full interviews on BBC Newsnight click here

Jack Straw statement to student demonstrators – Wednesday 8th December 2010

I share students’ concerns about proposed increases of up to £9000 in  tuition fees and the withdrawal of Education Maintenance Allowance which has helped many young people to continue their education and improve their chances of getting a good job.  As bad is the cut of 80% in the teaching grant to universities from central government – a cut at least three times higher than that of other government programmes.  There would have to be some increase in fees had we been in government – but by nothing like this amount, nor would we have cut the teaching grant in this way, nor abolished EMAs .  The Labour Party will be opposing these proposals in Parliament. I will be voting against them.  The Liberal Democrats should hang their heads in shame for the deception they practiced on the electorate. They campaigned on an anti-tuition fee ticket during the General Election and gained many thousands of extra votes as a result. They are now such a shambles that they are completely divided on the issue.’

Blackburn Labour Party backs student campaigns

This week has seen demonstrations around the country by students unhappy at the ConDem Government threats to funding and the imposition of unfair increases in tuition fees.  In Blackburn students from Blackburn College marched through the town and converged on Jack Straw’s office.  They received a clear message that their concerns would be taken up with the Government.  What is most astonishing is the shameful way the Liberal Democrats picked up votes around the country before this year’s General Election claiming that they would oppose all attempts by the Conservatives to increase tuition fees yet they are now voicing no opposition whatsoever to the harsh measures.  It’s not surprising that many are now questioning how exactly the Liberal Democrats are any different from the Conservatives. 

Jack Straw – branching out

For press coverage of Jack’s Clitheroe shoutabout click here. (zoom in to view). Jack Straw joined fellow Labour Party colleagues in Clitheroe last Saturday as he held his first ever open air meeting in the town centre. Drawing a crowd of about 50 local shoppers Jack’s meeting, held outside the White Lion pub on the Market Place, resulted in a lively discussion on a variety of topics including national spending cuts, immigration, tuition fees and whether Blackburn or Clitheroe have the most tourist attractions.’ This is the first step in a more high-profile campaign in the Ribble Valley and Blackburn Labour Party were pleased to make the short trip to Clitheroe to help spread Labour’s message.

Jack Straw in Clitheroe Town Centre

 

Blackburn Labour Party celebrates 100 years since the birth of the “Red Queen”

Last month celebrated 100 years since the birth of Barbara Castle. Barbara Castle, who served the people of Blackburn in parliament for over thirty years, was described upon her death in 2002 as “one of the most remarkable women politicians of the last century”. She was elected as MP for Blackburn on 5 July 1945 and built a reputation for herself as a conscientious, hard-working, tenacious back-bencher. It wasn’t until Harold Wilson was elected in 1964 that she gained ministerial responsibility, first at Overseas Development as only the fourth woman in history to sit at the Cabinet table. She then served as Secretary of State for Transport, introducing the breathalyser, 70mph speed limit on motorways, and legislation requiring all cars to be fitted with seatbelts. She then served as Secretary for Employment and Productivity and First Secretary of State from 1968-1970. Barbara Castle was MP for Blackburn from 1945-1979.

Tory boy George Osborne’s budget will hit women hardest

George Osborne’s cuts to the Health in Pregnancy grant, the Sure Start Maternity Allowance, Child Tax Credits and Child Benefit expose how he and the Coalition are not on women’s sides. Women are at the very heart of family and society, and with lower Carers Allowance payments, cuts to housing benefit, and the rise in VAT, this Tory Government propped up by the Lib Dems is just throwing more hurdles in the way of hard working women. Click here to make George rethink his budget…

Jack Straw addresses Labour Party Conference

Jack received a standing ovation after delivering his last speech as a Labour Party front bencher.  His record was applauded by colleagues including former Home Secretary Alan Johnson and New Leader Ed Miliband. To read Jack’s speech in full click here.

Labour takes control of the Council

For the last three years Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council has been run by a Tory led coalition in partnership with the Liberal Democrats and the small For Darwen Party. Their time in power has proved unpopular as they spent extravagantly at first; particularly in the areas they represented, and abandoned the principle of funding on the basis of needs previously adopted. This inevitably hit the most vulnerable members of the community as services were withdrawn in the areas needed and charges were levied for previously free services After campaigning against this approach Labour made a number of gains in this years May elections making them the largest party with 31 of the 64 seats. After the elections it became clear that the Coalition had prepared secret plans to cut back services even further in order to balance the books. They announced the closure of Shadsworth Leisure Centre and four Community Centres, all in the poorest & deprived areas of the Borough. They also announced reviews aimed at introducing savage cuts in areas such as libraries, adult and children’s services and in leisure activities. As a result members of the public across the Borough reacted by signing petitions and marching in their hundreds to protest at the Town Hall- this achieved regional TV and national press coverage. Despite this the Coalition seemed to be determined to push through their damaging policies and as a result two of the For Darwen Party – one who held the portfolio for culture, leisure and sport – announced they were unable to continue to support the present administration and consequently they were resigning and would sit as independents. Interviewed by the press they have gone on record as saying they would support a Labour led administration because they had more confidence in Labour’s ability to implement any future cutbacks fairly and in an equitable way. At the Council meeting on September 14th, a vote of no confidence in Tory Council Leader Michael Lee was carried 33 for and 29 against and Kate Hollern, leader of the Labour Group, was appointed to form a new Labour administration.

An invitation to join a fairer future

      There has never been a better time to join the Labour Party and show your support.  What makes it even better, is that if you are under 27 you can join for just £1!  Since the election we have had over 3,000 new members in the North West alone, a true sign of growing support for Labour’s policies. If you join the Labour Party before Wednesday 8th September you can vote for who you want to be the next Leader of the Party.  Join now.

Labour poised to take control

  The Labour Party in Blackburn with Darwen is poised to take control as a further Special Council Meeting is due to take place on September 14th.  After two For Darwen Councillors – fed up with the unfair cuts being made by the Tory led coalition – resigned from the controlling group the Council now hangs in the balance – with Labour on 31, the coalition on 31 and 2 independents. At the special meeting Labour Group Leader, Kate Hollern, will table a motion of no confidence in the controlling group and proposing that Labour takes charge.  Labour was by far and away the most successful party in this years’ local elections and has gain 4 seats during 2010 – showing a clear swing in public opinion towards its policies. The public are welcome to attend the Special Meeting.

Victory for the people!

The future of Blackburn and Darwen’s community centres and Shadsworth Leisure Centre is now a step closer to being secured following a bad tempered meeting at Blackburn Town Hall. The meeting – an ‘Extraordinary Council’ was called by Labour Members angry at Tory led proposals to close a number of community centres and Shadsworth Leisure Centre, as well as making a series of cuts to local services. The Council Chamber was once again packed as over 100 protesters came along to watch proceedings including a speech by Terry Morley who had previously handed in a 6000 name petition in support of Shadsworth Leisure Centre. The Labour Group won all three votes on the motions presented and as a result the decisions to close the centres and cut services have now been referred back to the Executive Board for further consideration. The next important meeting is the Executive Board at 6pm on Thursday 12th August in the Town Hall at which there will be further debate on the ongoing cuts.     

 
 Public uproar at Tory/Lib Dem decision to close Community Centres and Shadsworth Leisure Centre

If the Tory Council and Government ever had a honeymoon period it is well and truly over only 2 months after the General Election.  Last night (8th July) hundreds of demonstrators descended on Blackburn Town Hall to protest against a decision being forced through by the Tory/Lib Dem Coalition to close Shadsworth Leisure Centre, Ivy Street Community Centre, Little Harwood Community Centre, Shadsworth Community Centre and Sudellside Community Centre.  The protest rally was addressed by Shadsworth with Whitebirk Councillor, Tony Humphrys who said that local people would suffer as a result of this decision. In the packed Town Hall the atmosphere was of anger as in spite of strong arguments from the public and Labour Councillors the decision was forced through. The Tories were sent a clear message though – we will not stand for the decimation of public services – which will hit the most deprived areas hardest.  More protests will follow. Special Council Meeting Tuesday 20th July 6pm at Blackburn Town Hall. Following Labour pressure there will be an emergency Council meeting tonight where the cuts will be further challenged.  The public can attend this meeting and observe proceedings.   Tory Cuts to Police will lead to rising crime Years of hard work and campaigning by Jack Straw and Blackburn Labour Party will be reversed in the coming months as the Tories refusal to protect front line services means that hundreds of local police will will be axed.  Shortly before the recent General Election it was announced that crime in Lancashire was at its lowest levels since 1973 – mainly thanks to the pioneering work carried out by Labour in developing community based police officers. The Tories spent most of the election claiming that we had a ‘broken Britain’.  We at Blackburn Labour Party would like to ask exactly how they think cutting police numbers is going to help ‘fix’ the country? Read Damian Talbot’s blog for more comment about the cuts being made locally. Cllr John Wright slams council failure on waste in Corporation Park Our Labour team in Corporation Park ward have recorded the video below to illustrate some of the problems faced by residents in the wake of council cuts to cleaning services. Cllr John Wright highlights a disgusting scene as abandoned food and other household waste is left to rot in a back alley. Rather than acting promptly to clean up the mess, the council have put stickers on the bins and then ignored the problem for weeks.

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