Haringey councillor speaks out after suspension from party
PUBLISHED: 09:30 27 January 2016 | UPDATED: 15:28 27 January 2016
The local politician lost the Labour whip after he opposed cuts to vulnerable adult services.
Cllr Gideon Bull has been a Labour councillor for 15 years but he lost the party whip after speaking out about risks to elderly and disabled people if day centres close.
“I’m deeply saddened and I don’t think this punishment reflects the democratic society we live in,” said Cllr Bull.
“There’s no point being in politics if you can’t stand up for the people who can’t stand up for themselves.
“I take my responsibilities as a member of the Labour group extremely seriously and I take my responsibilities as a local councillor equally, if not more, seriously.”
Cllr Bull broke ranks to speak out against the closures of day centres for adults with dementia and disabilities at a Haringey cabinet meeting on November 10.
“This will have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable in our society,” he told cabinet members at the time.
It was decided the Birkbeck Road Day Centre in Hornsey, Always Day Centre near Muswell Hill, the Roundway Centre, the Grange Day Centre and the Haven Day Centre will close.
The Tottenham councillor believes passionately in the rights of vulnerable adults and was brought up by grandparents who relied heavily on day centres.
The decision to suspend Cllr Bull for three months, taken last week, has bitterly divided Haringey Labour.
Labour party member Alan Stanton has criticised the action.
The former councillor said that true leaders do not surround themselves with “yes” men.
“Politics is about debate and disagreement,” Mr Stanton said. “It’s about listening to different points of view and it means you make better decisions.”
“Gideon Bull is passionate about the Haven and services in his local neighbourhood for disabled and elderly people. He’s standing up; making a plea.”
Cllr Liz McShane, Haringey Labour group chief whip said: “I put forward the recommendation to withdraw the whip for three months from Cllr Bull following his interventions at the public Cabinet meeting on November 10 which I believe demonstrated uncomradely behaviour and a disregard for the principles of collective responsibility which all Group members are required to abide by.
“Cllr Bull is an active and engaged member of both the Labour Group and the local Party and it is extremely disappointing that his actions on this occasion have led to this outcome.
“I intend to work closely with Cllr Bull to ensure that he has a smooth reintegration and to hopefully avoid situations like this occurring again in future.”
Cllr Bull will be appealing the decision.