LABOUR will go the way of the last Green administration if it pursues anti-austerity rhetoric and infighting, a senior party member has warned.

Writer and broadcaster Simon Fanshawe has called for the local party to rally round its administration and MP Peter Kyle and focus energies on finding ways to counteract austerity rather than protesting against it.

The warning comes as successful candidates to the executive committee who had their election victory annulled indicated they would take a much stronger line against Government austerity if they do gain control.

The successful candidates have indicated they would encourage greater resistance to Government cuts and could look to appoint council candidates with the same viewpoint.

But senior members of the current Labour administration said avoiding cuts was not possible and would go against the instructions of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The election of several Corbynite supporters at this month’s AGM was ruled void by the National Executive Committee last week with new elections expected in the autumn.

Complaints have been made regarding the eligibility of standing candidates, the conduct of some attendees at the AGM venue and alleged ballot irregularities.

The successful candidates claim that the voiding of election results and suspension of the local Labour Party were in response to members voting for what was seen as the wrong result.

The majority of successful candidates are aligned with the Corbyn-supporting Labour faction Momentum and have been associated with more radical groups in the past.

Trade unionist Phil Clarke, who was voted on as a lay member, stood three times against Labour Party candidates in local elections – twice with the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

TUSC, which was co-founded by rail union leader Bob Crow, advocates bringing major companies and banks that “dominate the economy” into democratic public ownership and a self-declared “tax the rich” policy proposing a “progressive tax” on rich corporations and individuals.

At a local government level, it calls on its councillors to oppose all cuts to council jobs, services, pay and conditions while implementing a minimum wage of £10 an hour for all council employees and contractors.

It has also advocated councils writing off all housing benefit cuts-related arrears, withdrawing all court proceedings and eviction orders while also rejecting increases in council tax, rent and service charges.

Mr Fanshawe, who is affiliated with New Labour pressure group Progress, said: “Anti-austerity is not a political strategy, it’s a slogan.

“If a Conservative government wishes to cut expenditure then councils have to find a way to deliver services and protect the vulnerable, they shouldn’t be playing bingo.

“There is no earthly sense in saying no job cuts, some council services are brilliant but some are utterly inefficient and need reforming.

“They shouldn’t be attacking the local Labour group and they shouldn’t be calling for the deselection of our brilliant MP.

“If they do proceed with this they will go the way of the Greens with members picketing against their own leader.”

Successful candidates from the now annulled AGM have indicated to The Argus they would call on Labour councillors to no longer “manage” Government austerity cuts but oppose them.

Brighton and Hove City Council is set to cut 540 posts over the next four years as it attempts to save £68 million.

Greg Hadfield, who was voted on as party secretary in the annulled vote, said: “I don’t have any great knowledge of the TUSC position because I am a Labour Party member but I am very opposed to Labour councillors merely managing austerity.

“We will not make children with special needs pay for the economic policies of a Conservative government, we will not volunteer to sacrifice the 15,000 poorest families in the city with a council tax increase of 67 per cent.”

Mr Hadfield dismissed talk of deselecting existing councillors but indicated that the party might look to put forward candidates for election in 2019 with a more radical approach to cuts than current members.

Mr Clarke said: “Opposition to cuts needs to be stronger.

“Austerity is a political choice not a necessity and to create the strongest possible campaign against cuts is absolutely what the Labour Party should be.

“It’s not for me, even if the results were reinstated, what the council position should be but I think the local Labour Party needs to get the message out that they are unnecessary and it's important to try and fight back against them.”

Councillor Les Hamilton, current finance lead, said: “Every council has to set a legal budget.

“Jeremy Corbyn said last year that every council should set a legal budget.

“The idea of not making any cuts is simply not possible.”


The Argus: Mark SandellMark Sandell

MARK Sandell chaired the Keep Corbyn rally held before the local Labour Party AGM elections earlier this month.

Complaints have been raised with the National Executive Committee that he was formerly a member of the rival party Trotskyite Alliance For Workers Liberty which “aims for the liberation of the working class from wage slavery and state oppression”.

The party also advocates the establishment of a workers’ government to achieve pro-working class policies like free trade unions and universal, high quality public services paid for by taxing the rich.

Mr Sandell claims he was merely a supporter of the party’s newspaper Solidarity.

He told the Argus he had been a Labour member from 1986 until the mid-1990s when he stepped down in the wake of Tony Blair’s move to abolish clause IV – seen by supporters as the Labour Party’s historic commitment to socialism.

He said the emergence of Jeremy Corbyn as party leader last year had encouraged him to rejoin the party.

In declaring his candidacy for chairmanship of the local Labour party, he said he was deeply worried that millions of working class people were “conned into scapegoating” other working class people for the effects of austerity.

He added he was furious that some in the party wanted to unseat Jeremy Corbyn and said in the face of Brexit, the Labour Party must put forward “socialist arguments that unite, not nationalist ideas that divide”.

Mr Sandell is the former president and press officer of the West Sussex National Union of Teachers and has worked at Sussex schools including Durrington High School.


The Argus:

FORMER journalist Greg Hadfield gained a reputation for his fierce criticism of the current Labour administration during his time as editor of the Brighton and Hove Independent.

He was voted in as party secretary on the executive committee but complaints have been raised about his eligibility to stand because of his suspension from the party in August 2014 after being accused of “inappropriate and threatening behaviour” to party members – claims which he denies.

His suspension was lifted in September last year without a charge being brought against him although the party did issue him with a formal warning to his future conduct.

Greg Hadfield describes himself as a “tax and spend socialist” and has accused prominent local party members of failing to understand the seismic changes within the Labour Party and how members engage with politics.

Before joining the fledgling local newspaper the Brighton and Hove Independent in July 2013, Mr Hadfield had enjoyed a career with leading national newspapers including a six year stint as education correspondent, news editor and assistant editor at The Sunday Times, senior journalist at The Daily Mail and head of digital development at the Telegraph Media Group.

Mr Hadfield was also behind two highly successful start-ups: Soccernet which was created by his then 12-year-old son before being sold for £25 million, and Schoolsnet where he worked with current health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The 60-year-old said his reputation as a “wealthy, champagne socialist” is overplayed but freely admits he is one of the lucky few to live in a “band G home”.


The Argus:

PHIL Clarke describes himself as a committed trade unionist and socialist and very involved in local anti-cuts work.

He was voted onto the executive committee as a lay member but complaints have been made because he has stood three times against a Labour party candidate at city council elections for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

Most recently he stood for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in the Hanover and Elm Grove ward at last May’s council elections finishing last with 467 votes.

Mr Clarke was one of three TUSC candidates standing in the Hollingdean and Stanmer ward in the 2011 local elections where Labour candidate Pat Hawkes lost out to Green candidate Christina Summers by just 191 votes.

He was also unsuccessful when standing in the 2007 council elections for the Socialist Alternative party when he collected just 1.56 per cent of the vote.

Mr Clarke dismissed claims that his previous support for a rival party made him unsuitable for the committee.

In his candidacy for the executive, he said he was ideally placed to grow the party’s links with unions.

He said Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership had inspired trade unionists nationwide to rejoin the party.

Since joining last year, Mr Clarke has successfully brought motions at the local party level opposing the national policies’ of “forced academicisation” and wider plans for privatisation of education.

Mr Clarke is the elected national executive member for the Brighton and Hove, East Sussex Kent and Medway areas of the National Union of Teachers. and is also the general secretary of the Brighton Hove and District Trades Union Council.

He is also a secondary school computing teacher and secretary of the Lewes Eastbourne and Wealden NUT Association.


LABOUR is set for an all-male leadership contest after Angela Eagle withdrew to offer her support to Owen Smith as a “unity candidate” to take on Jeremy Corbyn.

Ms Eagle, who was first to challenge the Labour leader’s position on July 11, stepped down after it became apparent that Pontypridd MP Mr Smith was set to outstrip her in the race for nominations from MPs and MEPs.

Mr Smith said he planned to work “side by side” with Ms Eagle in the contest, which ends on September 24, and would make her “my right-hand woman” if he was successful in ousting Mr Corbyn.

With 24 hours to go to the 5pm Wednesday deadline for nominations, former shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Mr Smith had amassed the support of 88 MPs and two MEPs – easily passing the threshold of 51 required to get on to the ballot paper.

Among his backers were ex-leader Ed Miliband and former interim leader Dame Margaret Beckett, who last year said she had been a “moron” to nominate Mr Corbyn to broaden the debate, without having any no intention of voting for him.

Thanks to a decision by Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee, Mr Corbyn, as incumbent leader, did not have to gather nominations to take part. Having recently lost a confidence vote among his own MPs by 172 to 40, he is thought likely to have struggled to reach the 51 figure. It was only with “sympathy nominations” from Dame Margaret and others that he achieved the lower threshold of 36 needed to stand to become Mr Miliband’s successor last year.

Anyone signed up as a Labour member before January 12 will get a vote in the leadership ballot. Others can secure a vote by paying £25 to become a registered supporter before 5pm today (Wednesday).