A few weeks ago I wrote about comments made by Labour front bencher Alison McGovern in a parliamentary debate on the budget. After an intervention by Caroline Lucas, Ms McGovern used her Parliamentary Privilege to criticise Brighton & Hove Council for their failure to prioritise citing as evidence those people she had seen living on the streets of our city. My response was based on the knowledge I had of the renewed work going on to address the issue of Street Homelessness which exceeded anything undertaken under previous Councils, Labour or Conservative. I also pointed out that not all was rosy in Merseyside where Ms McGovern is an MP and that the Labour Party who run Liverpool are far from competent on every matter. Ms McGovern is MP on Wirral, not Liverpool but nevertheless before she chooses to express her views about Sussex based on a recent visit, one might assume she would deal with issues a lot closer to home that are caused by members of her own party.
According to this news report the Labour Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson has taken a School to court for ‘sacking’ him as a learning mentor 2 years after he stopped working at the School as a result of becoming full time leader of the Council. They were paying him £4,500 a year from the public purse for the role of mentor which was the maximum allowed under the rules. He is taking the School to court because he claims he wants to continue to accrue pension rights, not because he wants the money! Yet £4,500 is about 1/3 of a minimum wage which many workers in Liverpool depend on even though they are working up to 40 hours a week, unlike the Mayor who is earning a substantial salary for his work as Mayor. My personal interest (which is rather tenuous) is that my parents who I visit every few weeks live a few yards from the School and when I lived in the area many people I know attended the establishment.
It seems to me that there can be no defence on this issue, all schools need every £1 they have to educate children and Chesterfield High School is no exception. Joe Anderson seems to have the wrong priorities in fighting this tribunal case and I hope that Labour Party members including Alison McGovern will make a statement to this effect. Just as a reminder she said “I am glad that the hon. Lady focuses on those with the least. I have been to Brighton and seen people rough-sleeping, and it worries me greatly that the council there is insufficiently focused on those with the least.” and so if I was to paraphrase I would say I regularly visit Merseyside and know people who deserve the finest education possible and this news report suggests that the Labour Mayor is not sufficiently focused on providing such an education for local residents. I should finish by pointing out that Alison McGovern speaks on behalf of Labour on education so she should be particularly concerned about this issue!