Coxford councillors Don Thomas and Keith Morrell, dubbed the “Coxford two”, have today launched Labour Councillors Against The Cuts.
As reported in the Daily Echo earlier this week, the duo were suspended from the ruling party for three months after being put under investigation by local party whips when they voted against budget cuts to Oaklands Swimming Pool in Lordshill.
The new group is demanding that the city’s Labour administration immediately announces its refusal to do the Government’s “dirty work” of forcing through massive cuts in the public services.
Councillor Keith Morrell said: "We supported 100 per cent the workforce and Unions in their campaign to win back the pay stolen from them by the Tories.
"We will stand shoulder to shoulder with them against any further threats to their jobs and to public services"
Councillor Don Thomas added: “We support the unions’ view that council workers and the community should not be made to pay for a crisis they did not create.”
Council leader Richard Williams said it was “a great sadness” the councillors had quit when the future of Oaklands Pool was an “ongoing” issue.
He said while the whip had been withdrawn the councillors had still been able to attend meeting and “engage” in debate.
“It is a deep shame that the path they have chosen to follow will result in them having cut themselves off from policy influence within the Labour movement as whole, not just in the Labour Group in Southampton and the Labour Party nationally,” he said.
Deputy opposition Tory leader councillor Jeremy Moulton said: “Whilst local Conservative councillors are poles apart from Keith and Don, we do respect them because they have their views and their principles and they stick to them. It is a shame that the same can't be said for other Labour councillors.”