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Protest demo greets Labour defector Claire Jeffrey at Shepway meeting in Folkestone

Contributed by editor on Oct 27, 2016 - 04:10 PM

  

 

By Ray Duff

Pickets gathered at the Civic Centre in Folkestone yesterday evening (26 October) before a meeting of Shepway District Council to protest at former Labour councillor Claire Jeffery's recent switch to the Conservatives.



 

Cllr Jeffrey, who is Jewish, stood down from the Labour Party after Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected as leader last September; saying she could not support a party which "tolerated" anti-Semitism and that "Enough is enough, goodbye Labour but I will continue to work hard as a councillor to serve the people of East Folkestone."


Protesters were addressed by Labour's Nick Southgate, who is also Chair of Momentum South East Branch.

Mr Southgate called on Ms Jeffrey to resign and stand again under her new colours as a mark of respect to democracy. A number of the placards clearly pointed out that she had left 1116 Labour voters in her ward without representation after the switch.

Mr Southgate said that as a consequence the Labour Party would now begin to attend council meetings to make their, and Labour voters' voices heard. He intended to ask councillors at the meeting: "Given the change in national Tory policy away from an austerity agenda, can you firstly highlight who has been hardest hit by the policy of austerity and what moves will they be making to ameliorate its consequences."



Top: Nick Southgate, Shepway Labour Party speaker
Middle: The 'picket' at the Civic Centre
Bottom: Eric Segal, Socialist Party addresses the picket  Photos: Ray Duff

 

 

Also attending were local members of the Socialist Party, led by Eric Segal, who addressed the protest calling for people to increase their campaigning against the Tories and their privatisation policies, including backing the reinstating of a publicly funded only NHS, renationalising our railways and stopping the attacks on working people and those on benefits.

Ms Jeffery arrived with husband Dylan with Council leader Cllr David Monk and whisked the couple past the picket with protesters calling on her to resign.

At a previous meeting of Shepway Labour Party, which had also organised the picket last night; they had heard that a petition calling for Cllr Jeffrey to resign had been signed by over 200 people which apparently included a few Tories. At the meeting Mr Southgate pointed out that "In May 2015 the people spoke, they voted for a rosette. She could have been an Independent, that would have been accepted. The real reason we've called the meeting is to ask her that if she believes people voted for her as a person she should stand down and campaign and so let the people have their say."

Cllr Jeffrey, who is Jewish, stood down from the Labour Party after Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected as leader last September; saying she could not support a party which "tolerated" anti-Semitism and that "Enough is enough, goodbye Labour but I will continue to work hard as a councillor to serve the people of East Folkestone."

As the council chamber doors were opened many of the protesters filed into the public gallery.
 

 

 

 

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