A defector from Labour to the Greens in South Tyneside is to challenge the man who took his job at May’s Local Elections.
Matthew Giles, 24, was formerly the youth officer for Jarrow Constituency Labour Party, but he lost a ballot last September to Adam Ellison, who has now taken over the role.
Now Mr Giles has left Labour and will stand for the Green Party against Mr Ellison in Hebburn North on Thursday, May 7.
The recording studio sound engineer, of Mill Crescent, Hebburn, joined the Labour Party four years ago but believes his anti-war and anti-austerity views have in recent months put him at odds with the local party.
Despite his departure from Labour, he has pledged to “run a positive campaign with no sniping”.
“I don’t think my views fitted with the party. I was offered the chance to be a Labour candidate in Westerhope, in Newcastle, but I wanted to represent the place where I lived, but I couldn’t get considered by the party locally.
“I felt I was being prevented from going further because of my views and my refusal to toe the line.”
Since joining the Greens at the end of last year, Mr Giles said he had found the party “a perfect fit”.
“It’s been an incredibly positive experience, and the people involved with the party locally are really enthusiastic.
“On the doorstep we have heard from people wanting to vote Green but have been unable to because of a lack of candidates. They end up voting Labour as the lesser of two evils.
“I’m planning to run a positive campaign, with no sniping. We’re under no illusions we are going to win everywhere but it’s about building up our base and giving people the chance to vote Green in every ward.”
Meanwhile, in his role with the Tyneside branch of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, Mr Giles is helping organise a rally in Newcastle on Saturday against Pegida, the anti-Muslim organisation.
It is to be attended by campaigning comedian Russell Brand and controversial MP George Galloway.
Wilf Flynn, secretary of Jarrow Constituency Labour Party, said he felt Mr Giles was “jumping onto the Green bandwagon”.
“I can’t accept that Matthew wasn’t given a chance with the Labour Party, he was on our Local Government Panel and he could have stood against Adam when he beat Ian Harkus in Labour North.
“I find it strange that Matthew is not standing in the ward where he lives – Hebburn South.
“Perhaps he didn’t feel he could take on Eddie McAtominey.
“He was our youth officer and then lost the next time on a ballot to Adam. Matthew knows his own mind but I feel he’s jumped on the Green bandwagon.
“I don’t have a crystal ball but I don’t foresee a wedge of Green MPs after the next election – but every vote taken away from Labour will make it more likely that Cameron gets a majority.
“I know Matthew wouldn’t want that.”
> I do dislike this constant emotional blackmail – if you don’t vote for us its a vote for the Tories – that Labour seem to be constantly indulging in.
The fact is, quite a few people who did vote Labour did so simply because there was no viable left wing alternative, and they wouldn’t touch Ukip with a bargepole.
The Greens have evidently filled that vacuum and now provide an alternative for those who see Labour as virtually identical to the Tories – Matthew Giles’ comments about his anti-war and anti-austerity views not fitting in are probably quite widespread among the new Green supporters.
Source – Shields Gazette, 24 Feb 2015
I’ve only seen a few final results so far, but it seems that overall Labour retain control. Not much of a suprise perhaps, but it’s good to see that the wheels appear to have come off the much-vaunted UKIP targeting of the North East.
They did achieve a number of second places, but generally a very long way behind Labour candidates – which seems to suggest that they were taking votes from the Conservatives, not Labour.
Of the 25 seats up for grabs, Labour took a total of 21, with the Conservatives winning three and one Independent. The overall turnout across Sunderland was 33 per cent
Mayor Bob Heron (Labour) lost his seat in the Copt Hill ward (Houghton-le-Spring) to independent Anthony Allen by 75 votes.
Sunderland remains a UKIP-free zone 🙂
There seemed to be a feeling that UKIP were going to make big inroads in South Tyneside. They didn’t. In fact, they lost one of the two seats they already held.
Labour maintained control, retaining 49 of the 54 seats.
It held 16 seats of the 18 seats up for grabs and took Fellgate and Hedworth from UKIP – though it lost Bede to the Independent – Putting People First group.
The overall percentage turnout was 34.4 per cent, compared to 34.1 per cent in 2012, with 39,462 votes cast out of a total electorate of 114,813.
The highest turnout was in the Cleadon and East Boldon ward with 44.7 per cent, while the Biddick and All Saints ward was the lowest at 27.7 per cent.
The new political make-up of the Council is: Labour: 49, Independent: 1, Independent – Putting People First: 2, Conservative: 1 and UKIP: 1.
Labour councillor Nancy Maxwell enjoyed the biggest majority of the night, romping to victory in Hebburn South ward.
She won nearly two-thirds of the vote, to record a majority of 920 over her nearest rival – UKIP.
Seems to be the nearest thing to a UKIP triumph so far…
Labour maintained its control of Hartlepool Borough Council winning six out of the 11 wards that were up for grabs.
UKIP won 2 seats, including the Jesmond ward from Labour by just two votes – after five recounts had taken place.
Labour maintain their 19 out of 33 seats on Hartlepool Council and overall control.
The UKIP winners were aged 63 and 72 respectively – which seems to be the age group they appeal to, if the various vox pops I’ve seen in various media sources locally over the past few weeks are any guide.
Which raises the interesting question of what will happen to UKIP in the next decade or so, as their candidates and voters die out ?
Also interesting to note the virtual abscence of the BNP in these elections. A few years ago they were standing in most Sunderland wards – this time, nothing at all. Did their voters transfer to UKIP ?