As it gears up for the General Election next year the North Warwickshire Labour Party has held its 2014 Annual General Meeting at the Wood End Community in North Warwickshire. The party elected its officers and heard from the former Minister who is standing for Parliament in the constituency, Mike O’Brien.
Although unable to attend the meeting, the Mayor of Nuneaton and Bedworth Cllr Brian Hawkes was unanimously re-elected for the seventh year as Chairman and members sent him their best wishes after he was recently diagnosed with cancer. Cllr Julie Jackson as Vice Chairman chaired the meeting. Cllr Adam Farrell from Coleshill was elected as Party Secretary.
John Harrison was elected as Treasurer, a post has held for a remarkable 30 years. Mr Harrison, a solicitor from Shuttington in North Warwickshire, warned members that the party was short of money. With a general election in 2015, they needed to fund the campaign, but the local party relied heavily on fund raising events and small donations from members, only a fraction coming from business and union donations. He reminded them that Dan Byles Conservatives had declared large donations including a recent £10,000 donation from property developers, but Labour in this area had never had a donation of that size in 30 years.
In his annual address to members Mike O’Brien emphasised that, “This is the most marginal Conservative held constituency in Britain. We lost it by only 54 votes. Every single voter can make a difference here.
“Labour didn’t win the seat last time because Gordon Brown proposed HS2 and the Conservatives promised local people they would consider a changing the route. After the election Cameron extended the route to hit Kingsbury, Birchmoor Polesworth and Austrey. People won’t forget being conned by Cameron.
“But the real problem is the division they caused. The rich got big tax cuts,whilst hard working families paid higher VAT. Families are on average £1,600 worse off since 2010. The NHS is struggling, with George Eliot Hospital £12m in debt whilst managers were distracted by a government scheme to privatise it. The street lights went out, the libraries closed and the Fire Service was slashed. We lost 1 in 5 Warwickshire police officers and the Tories say they are surprised that burglary increased last year by 18% in North Warwickshire and 38% in Bedworth. This is a government with no serious policy to tackle energy prices.
“I care about the people of this constituency. We don’t need Tory division. We need a one nation Britain. That’s important to me. I pledge to be a hard working constituency MP. I know how government works and I have the strength and experience of 13 years as a Minister to make a difference. I will fight to tackle inequality, reduce poverty, freeze energy prices, protect the NHS, promote jobs and protect our green belt.”