Cllr Rob Lee is the Leader of the Conservative Group on Hastings Borough Council.
After last week’s mention in the national press of Peter Chowney, Labour Leader of Hastings Borough Council, signing the 13 point loyalty oath to Jeremy Corbyn, it raised suspicions that Momentum had a firm grip on the levers of power within the Hastings and Rye Labour Party. This was confirmed later that week when it was revealed that a large-scale purge of Labour Councillors had taken place in advance of next year’s local elections for Hastings Borough Council. Labour announced the results of their selections and it appears that a bloodbath has taken place.
A scythe has been taken to the Labour Group and amongst the victims are a former Mayor, the Chair of the Planning Committee, a senior member of the Cabinet, who was hotly tipped as the next Labour Leader and one young Councillor who only got elected in a by-election in 2015. One of the deselected Labour councillors is fighting the process and is attempting to get his deselection overturned. A Labour councillor who left the party recently in disgust at their violent lurch to the left is also stepping down.
In their place are proud, hard left supporters including an anti-Israel campaigner, and a “Peace Campaigner” who was once arrested at the Cenotaph and who describes on their Twitter page their focus being on “Afghanistan, mass incarceration, weaponised drones & refugees”. This sounds interesting but I doubt if the people of Hastings would describe these as areas of concern for their local council to be dealing with.
Whilst Labour tear themselves apart along ideological lines, the Conservatives will be campaigning on the real issues that affect residents: cleaner streets, homelessness, value for money. We will continue fighting against Labour’s bad decisions which include closing down the public toilets in the Town Centre and the very unwise borrowing of tens of millions of pounds from the Public Works Loans Board to buy second rate retail properties across the borough to generate rental income.
Unusually for us, we have all-out elections in 2018 due to boundary changes and we will, as ever, be fighting very hard to gain control of the Borough, and further revive the fortunes of Hastings and St Leonards, building on the great work already done by our fantastic MP, Amber Rudd.