Keith House in ‘Open revolt’

Keith House bigger

Keith House has signed a letter to The Times newspaper attacking the speed and scale of spending cuts and criticising Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

The leader of Eastleigh council joined 17 fellow Lib Dem leaders and 71 local party heads to pen what The Times has described as an ‘open revolt’ and a ‘serious blow to the coalition’.

Following less than 24 hours after the resignation of Libe Dem peer Lord Okeshott after speaking out against a Chancellors George Osborne’s handling of the banks, does this letter point to a party in the process of splitting from the bottom to the very top?

Keith House may have good cause to worry about the scale of the cuts.

Although he recently appeared on the ‘Politics Show’ boasting how the council had anticipated and budgeted for a drop in income, an email circulated to councillors from finance boss Nick Tustian claims the net effect of cuts to the government grant could be deeper than they first thought.

Much of councillors ire is directed at the Communities Secretary. In addition to cutting council funding, plain speaking Mr Pickles has handed down various edicts including guidance that parking regulations should not be used for general fund raising or in order to discourage car use as part of a climate change strategy.

Mr Pickles is also celebrated by editors of hyperlocal news sites across the country for his criticism of council run newspapers like Eastleigh’s appalling ‘Borough News’ which he has described as ’Town Hall Pravdas’.

Writing to The Times the councillors warned that the ‘front loaded’ cuts in funding are too quick and too deep and will cause hardship and could even damage ‘the recovery’:

“These cuts will have an undoubted impact on all frontline council services, including care services to the vulnerable.

Rather than assist the country’s recovery by making public-sector savings in a way that can protect local economies and the frontline, the cuts are so structured that they will do the opposite.”

The councillors also complain that Mr Pickle’s robust style is unhelpful and accuse him of ‘gunboat diplomacy’ and of ‘waving a big stick’.

“Instead of chastising and denigrating local authorities through the media, the Government should deploy all its efforts to help councils minimise the impact on vulnerable communities and frontline services”

Mr House’s action hints at a growing dissent within the local party.

Ex Mayor Glyn Davies-Dear recently broke away from the Lib Dems to form a independent group along with two other councillors who were shown cutting up their party membership cards on TV.

Councillor Davies-Dear told the media of his disillusionment with the Liberal Democrats and how Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne had made him ‘feel dirty’ while another said:

‘The Coalition is making people’s lives hell with tuition fees, putting up VAT and ripping the NHS apart”.

In November The Daily Echo reported how 21 Lib Dem councillors had written to Chris Huhne to express their dissatisfaction with the u-turn on tuition fee rises.

Top secret minutes of an Eastleigh Lib Dem party meeting leaked to Eastleigh News describes how party loyalists angrily attacked those had taken part in the protest – including Dan Clarke, who as a former Labour PPC had played a key role in boosting Mr Huhne’s majority at the last election.

Councillor Clarke reportedly told his critics that individuals should:

“Follow their conscience rather than mindlessly follow a party line which had totally changed since the last election.”

In an editorial The Times accused Mr House and his colleagues of

“Trying to salvage seats in the local elections’

Pic source: Twitter


  4 comments for “Keith House in ‘Open revolt’

  1. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    February 10, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Resisted temptation for ‘Keith House Revolting’ as headline 🙁

    February 11, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Pimples! Lousy pimples! That’s what we are staring at here! The end of Britannia’s nose! Let’s stand back from the mirror and see Britannia’s problem for what it really is.

    For 37 years we have NOT had a change of government. Our de facto “government” IS the EU. There is nothing we can do about it. That creates problems! Inevitably!

    Treason and hypocrisy eventually splits political parties at local and national level. But also the financial strain of propping up a foreign power eventually brings the whole rotten stack of cards tumbling down.

    Taxes, taxes and more taxes! Eventually after so many years of cumulative underfunding, the cracks have begun to appear in our own infrastructure. How do politicians justify the need to pay further taxes (most of which is going straight into the EU coffers)? Answer: They can’t! That creates problems!

    Did you know that ALL the cuts we have made at such great cost have all gone down the EU pan in bailing out “Ireland”, just to keep it in the Euro? Did you know that? Do you care? Heck, it’s only your money!

    Ladies and gentlemen, what you are witnessing right now, with Keith House in open revolt, is the beginning of the end of politics as you have known it for more than 40 years.

    All the strains of aiding and abetting the EU have finally brought about the essential economic and political catastrophe (healing crisis) from which there is only one road to recovery.

    Britain must urgently leave the EU, regain control of its own borders, deport all foreign workers doing jobs which British workers could do and above all, rebuild our industrial base by re-imposing tariffs on cheap foreign goods and labour which have destroyed more than 5 million (repeat MILLION) manufacturing jobs since we fell under EU control (courtesy of the Tories in 1972).

    As Al Jolson said, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet”!

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      February 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm

      Did you know that ALL the cuts we have made at such great cost have all gone down the EU pan in bailing out “Ireland”, just to keep it in the Euro?Did you know that?Do you care?Heck, it’s only your money!

      Whoa! We haven’t given Ireland £7 billion – it’s a loan.

      They are going to pay us back.

      With interest.

      You see they have a debt problem…like lots of families who have borrowed and spent beyond their means so they are borrowing more money to pay off the original borrowing.

      It’s like those ads that promise to get rid of all your debts by consolidating them into one easy payment – after you have given them the deeds to your house.

      So we have lent them money and if they default we get to send the baillifs in.

      A bit of a problem though is that we have had to borrow the money to lend them.

      In November the UK borrowed £23 billion – partly so we could lend £7 billion to the Irish.

      Of course the people Ireland owe money to…includes us.

      So we are borrowing money to lend to Ireland to repay us the money we lent to them previously.

      Look this explains it better than I can…


  3. Save Sid
    February 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    O, Mr House would know all about cutting front line services and putting the elderly and venerable at risk..

    Was it not his party that told the venerable and elderly that they could not have travel tokens anymore thus making them prisoners in their own homes..??

    You sure can hoist yourself on your own petard Mr House..

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