Chaos looms as Sheffield Labour councillors threaten to vote against party

Up to 15 senior Labour councillors have refused to re-apply for their posts in protest at a Campaign Improvement Board deciding roles in Sheffield.
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Some may go further and resign the whip and become Independents, The Star understands. And some may vote against the party at the city council’s annual general meeting on Wednesday, when top political jobs are agreed, including council leader.

A councillor, who asked not to be named, said they were “hurt, dejected and disillusioned” at the Central Office shake-up.

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They added: “We have standing orders for all these processes but Central Office has thrown the rule book out of the window, they obviously want new leadership. Between 10 and 15 Labour councillors have either resigned or are not re-applying for their positions. A few are saying they will vote a different way at the AGM on Wednesday.”

Sheffield Labour is paying the price for the Container Park failure.Sheffield Labour is paying the price for the Container Park failure.
Sheffield Labour is paying the price for the Container Park failure.

Previous incumbent Terry Fox was forced out and the party put in special measures following a string of issues including the tree felling scandal, the failure of Fargate Container Park and implementation of the Clean Air Zone.

Central Office produced a two-name Labour group leader short-list for local members to vote on. Walkley councillor Tom Hunt emerged the winner.

It also controlled applications for positions including deputy leader, chief whip, group chair, secretary and treasurer, and chairs of committees for children, transport and finance, in what some described as a 'purge'.

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In recent years Labour suffered a fall in votes which left the authority with no overall control and run in a co-operative with other parties. Following negotiations, the structure will be decided at the AGM on Wednesday. There are 39 Labour councillors on Sheffield City Council, the Lib Dems 29 and Greens 14.

Last week, the previous Labour leadership were missing from a special meeting that aimed to address the damning tree felling inquiry.

A Labour spokesperson said: "After the trust in Sheffield Labour was lost, we have listened to the people of Sheffield and have taken action to ensure we can restore their faith in Labour locally. Our new leadership will lead with openness and transparency at its core, and begin the path to regain control of the council with a positive Labour vision for Sheffield, and deliver for working people in the way only Labour can."