Gove made me ashamed to be a Conservative says senior Tory councillor as she joins Labour

The Deputy leader of the Conservative Group on Sandwell Council has quit the party and joined Labour saying the behaviour of gaffe prone Michael Gove made her “ashamed to be a Conservative.”

When Gove announced the cuts to the Building Schools for the Future programme early this year he said he was halving the number of projects – more than 700 schools. But according to the first list published Sandwell was safe.

However the following day discord erupted. Gove had got his facts wrong. The department was very sorry but some of the schools would not be receiving the investment. How many? All of them.

Gove then promised Council Leader Darren Cooper that he would visit Sandwell to meet with parents and apologise for the cock up. The Department for Education later cancelled Mr Gove’s visit to Sandwell citing “diary pressures.”

On resigning from the Conservative Party and joining Labour Cllr Elaine Costigan said:

It is now absolutely clear that the Labour Party is the only party that cares about places like Sandwell. This community has been treated with utter contempt by the government over the slashing of the school building programme and when Michael Gove backed out of his promise to come and apologise to the parents, pupils and staff he had so badly let down, I felt ashamed to be a Conservative.

I am delighted to join the Labour Party, now the only party fighting for the ordinary hardworking people of this community.

In her resignation she wrote:

I am writing to formally resign my membership of the Conservative Party with immediate effect.

I have served Wednesbury North for the past 8 years and I care passionately about my community. I now feel that I can no longer serve the people I represent as a member of the Conservative Party. I cannot condone the crippling cuts that will be affecting my residents; my OAPs worried about losing their homes and heating allowances, the cuts affecting local parents on low-incomes. And, most of all, the parents, pupils and staff of local schools, who have had their hopes of new and better buildings, and with it better education, dashed by the Conservative-led coalition Government.

Only this week I had a meeting with the head teacher at Wood Green High School, Wednesbury, where they are having to have the roof done at a cost of £150,000. This money was supposed to pay off a bank loan, but they are now having to use it to repair the buildings, roofs etc.

I did not become a local Councillor to support that kind of misery being inflicted on decent hard-working local people. You may think that those cuts had to be made, but cuts should start at the top not at the bottom.

Sandwell desperately needs new investment in its schools yet this government has not only abandoned the children of my community but it has treated them disgracefully. The sudden withdrawal of funding for new schools the day after it was confirmed, the refusal to listen to local people and the Secretary of State’s breaking of his promise to apologise to the parents, pupils and staff, all show a government that to say does not seem to care about this community.

I can no longer bite my lip and pretend that the way the Conservative-led coalition has treated Sandwell is OK. It is not, and I cannot be a member of a party that condones their actions.

On a personal level, I must thank you for the support I had when I first got elected in 2002 and I wish you the very best for the future.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Elaine Costigan

Tags: , , , ,

4 Responses to “Gove made me ashamed to be a Conservative says senior Tory councillor as she joins Labour”

  1. David Lonsdale says:

    If the Local Education Authority was closed down and the salaries of the bureaucrats given directly to the schools, would there be enough money to repair the school roof?

  2. LK says:

    What a retregrade step, after all Sandwell Schools have been in a bad state for many years not just since May 2010. The state of the borough as a whole is disgusting and the council and its elected members are bad housekeepers and have a poor vision of what residents want and need, take the Public for instance, which is Sandwell’s answer to the London dome.

    The streets are filthy, crime and violence is on the increase in most areas, services are poor so why should the coalition Government throw good money after bad. The cuts have got to be made to get our country’s budget back in the black and benefit cheats ( there are certainly loads of them in Sandwell) have got to be found out.

  3. Richiedaw says:

    What a parochial political coward !

  4. den says:

    seems to me this resignation has more to do with keeping a £20,000 a year job than any political point, remember “politics” POLI=many of, TICS blood sucking parasites

Leave a Reply