Crewe Councillor Resigns from the Labour Party over Deselection
Cheshire East Council Labour Group, and Crewe and Nantwich Constituency Labour Party were very surprised by Councillor Michelle Sherratt's announcement that she had decided to resign from the Labour Party and continue to take her seat on the council as an Independent. One can accept that she did not take her decision lightly, but the situation she describes leading up to it does not accord with the facts.
David Newton, Leader of the CEC Labour Group, said, "Councillor Sherratt claims that she has been discriminated against. It is important to state that CEC Labour Group recognise that some councillors have child care issues, and she is not the only one so placed. In recognition of her position the Labour Group made the positive decision, after consultation across the group, of which she was a part, to change our monthly meeting times to a time more suitable for her. It is not true that we prevaricated over this. Indeed, once the decision was made it was communicated to all members of the group, and if she says that she was not told of this change then I can only assume that she simply did not read her emails.”
It is also untrue to say that the Labour Party discriminates against women. Michelle was a candidate on an all woman shortlist. Labour is the only party which has a quota of 50% for women candidates and this rule is strictly applied across the whole party in every constituency, in both national and local elections, and Crewe and Nantwich is no exception.
This year a number of very strong candidates, many of them young, presented themselves for selection to stand for Labour in the 2015 council elections which inevitably resulted in competition for the available places. Michelle lost out in Crewe West against strong competition.
Suzanne Brookfield, Labour Crewe Town Councillor for Crewe East, said, "It is very welcome to see a number of new young candidates coming through the Labour Party into local government, some of whom have been successful in this year's selection and I am sorry that Michelle has left the Labour Party after losing out in the selection in Crewe West, instead of taking the option to stand in another ward.”
David Newton added, "The key point to make in this matter is that every candidate has to convince members of their ward that they should be selected to stand. In a democratic process, overseen by independent observers, the members of the Crewe West ward decided that they wanted a different candidate from their sitting councillor for the 2015 elections. From time to time that happens. It's called democracy and those of us who seek public office know that we have to engage in the sort of activity to meet our obligations to our ward members and residents in order to achieve success."