Portsmouth Labour group outisde the Portsmouth Guildhall
Portsmouth Labour group outisde the Portsmouth Guildhall

Today all three of our newly elected councillors made their maiden speeches at their first full council meeting. Cllr George Fielding, Tom Coles and Judith Smyth all spoke on a range of issues including policing and cuts to resources, local armed forces support and tabled an amendment to the administrations ‘cop out’ housing motion. Below is a snippet of their speeches you can view the whole council meeting here https://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/ext/the-council/transparency/watch-full-council-meetings-online

Cllr George Fielding has responded to the police cuts motion at Full Council today. He said:

“Shocking hypocrisy from the former council leader today rewriting history in the Council Chamber. 

The Tories when in office did nothing to lobby their own in Government for more resources for Hampshire police. 

Whilst the Lib Dems write words, Labour takes action.

Portsmouth Labour and our city MP will continue to stand up for our local police officers and work tirelesssly with others to bring down crime in our city”.

Cllr Tom Coles, a former serviceman of the Royal Navy made his maiden speech in Full Council today backing a motion to support the city’s veterans. He said:

“I would like to place on record my admiration and thanks for the brilliant work carried out across the city by local charities to support ex-service men and women. As a new councillor, I will be working alongside them and support residents in my ward who are ex-service personnel”.

In response to a armed forces champion he added:

“Since Cllr Vernon-Jackson is now both lead armed forces champion and Leader of the Council, it is imperative that he be held to account by members of this point, as he holds the budgetary responsibility and it is vital that this not be ‘brushed under the carpet’ once the budget comes round. I hope he finds the time to be more than a part-time champion, as our armed forces deserve better”.

Today Portsmouth Labour pushed the Lib Dem administration at the city council to make a stronger commitment to building “more homes for local people”.

Whilst recognising that house building targets set by Government need to be realistic, the Labour Group amended a motion before Full Council.

Labour councillors sought and secured cross party support in recognising the need for mixed communities, making sure the council sets targets which meet housing needs and noted there is already an over supply of overpriced student flats developed by private developers in the city.

Cllr Judith Smyth in making a pitch for the amended motion in her maiden speech said:

“It is vital to the many people on our housing waiting list, those stressed by insecure, over-priced and poorly maintained housing, and the generations to come who will not be able to buy their homes. 

These people have been let down by Tory Governments who have failed to build enough housing nationally, have raised rents for social housing and introduced policies to reduce the share of new housing which can be built by local authorities and registered social landlords year after year”.

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