Wednesday, May 07, 2008

More Trouble for Reading Labour Party

The Reading Labour Party suffered a further blow today when one of its leading councillors, former Mayor Tony Jones, resigned the Labour whip to sit as an independent. They lost control of the Council on Thursday, losing 3 seats to the resurgent Reading Conservatives and 2 to the LibDems. The Tories gained a further seat from the LibDems. Cllr Jones has this to say...
Both my grandfathers were coal miners. So being part of the labour movement is almost part of my DNA. But I spent the early part of my life attending non-conformist chapels in South Wales, so for me “my party right or wrong” has never been the deal. Now, after 33 years of membership, I have left the Labour Party.

Over a period of time I have lost all confidence in the leadership of the Labour Party, both nationally and here in Reading. My reasons are many... But most of all, I didn’t join the Labour Party to increase taxes for amongst the poorest in our community - even now Cabinet Ministers are claiming they have “dealt with” the 10p tax rate problem, which is not true - while the government can dither then find countless billions to bale out the failed bankers at Northern Rock, and MP’s argue for a £100,000 a year salary and freely enjoy the benefits of the John Lewis catalogue.

In my view Gordon Brown is not capable of listening, learning or leading. If he was, he would have done so by now and we would not be in the mess we are in. Perhaps the more than 300 former Labour councillors across the country who lost their seats at the local elections are seen as expendable - it’s only when career MP’s see their livelihoods threatened things may change.

Clearly, the voters will never learn to love Gordon Brown and he should go now.

Cllr Jones's full statement on his blog is worth reading as I suspect his views are shared by many Labour activists up and down the country.

PS The reaction of former Reading East Labour MP Jane Griffiths is well worth having a scaz at.


Richard Nabavi said...

From Tony Jones' blog at (which is an interesting read, by the way):

"I resigned before the election but chose not to go public, so as to allow the election to take its course, without giving people the opportunity to say that I had either sabotaged or helped any particular candidate or party’s chances."

I understand his dilemma, but it does mean that the Reading electorate were being hood-winked.

Penfold said...

Tony Jones is an honest man and one clearly who has finally found his conscience.
His remarks and comments are deserving of a far wider audience, if only to educate the traditional labour supporter and voter that it is no longer their party.

JuliaM said...

"...after 33 years of membership, I have left the Labour Party."

Shouldn't it have been 'the Labour Party has left me...'?

"Clearly, the voters will never learn to love Gordon Brown and he should go now."

Ouch! :)

Anonymous said...

How noble of Tony Jones (my local councillor) to 'allow the election to take its course'.

Perhaps he could now allow us to vote on him as an Independent candidate at a by-election rather than simply enjoying another four years of public funding.

And people wonder why nobody votes in local elections.

Anonymous said...

The population of the UK is about 60 million.

Exactly 24,278 people in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath voted for Gordon Brown.

That is 0.04% of the population.

Dave H. said...

Mr Jones has a conscience, albeit alongside faulty reasoning. I'm not sure if you bale or bail (are you Ian Dail?)out a bank, but I'll bet the bankers suffer less than ordinary staff and savers if one goes bust.

Am not very politically knowledgable, but surely the worst thing would be for Brown yield to all this pressure and step down voluntarily. The PLP might then elect a successor with a remote chance of winning a GE.

Hopefully Gordon's too stubborn and detached from reality for this. People say his character has been affected by some hereditary thing his father had. Mange, I think it was.

Anonymous said...

I really wouldn't take anything Jane Griffiths says seriously at all.

Look up "bitter" in the dictionary and you'll find a picture of her.

Vienna Woods said...

Brown is not the only waste of space.

According to ITN, -

Chancellor Alistair Darling promised Labour rebel Frank Field he was actively searching for all the "losers".

Darling should try looking in a mirror!

Was said...

Tony Jones was not standing for election this year so no one was hoodwinked. Tony has gone no where; I quite like the line that the Labour Party has left him.

Whether you believe that defections should result in an immediate by-election is a different matter. All parties call for them when faced with a defector and reject the idea when welcoming one.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at what else is happening in the Labour heartland of places like Jarrow now part of South Tyneside. Labour are gradually losing ground to the Independent Alliance who ousted the Leader of the Council and a former Mayor and prominent cabinet member. The Independents gained a total of 4 seats making them the major opposition group whilst the Tories and LibDems failed to win a single new seat between them.

If you want to know more about what is happening in David Milliband’s (possibly a future PM) back yard take a look at it makes interesting reading.

Richard Nabavi said...

'was' at 5.34pm: "Tony Jones was not standing for election this year so no one was hoodwinked."

I am not so sure. This was, as they say in financial markets, 'market-sensitive information'. Note that he had already resigned, so his colleagues knew on May 1st that he was no longer part of the Labour group. Had voters known, some might have changed their vote; for example, you can imagine someone having doubts about Labour but, because of Cllr Jones' local reputation, deciding that with him on the Labour group they would overcome their doubts.

Still, no matter. According to Reading Labour party, the result of the election was "Labour gives Tories a bloody nose in Reading". (See

So it's a major victory for Labour, whatever Cllr Jones thinks about the current state of the party. Hmm..

Anonymous said...

It is indeed true that cllr Jones has a local reputation, from being booted from ward to ward after upsetting large sections of the local communities he represented.

He may be from mining stock, but he's as bourgeois as they come.