|New Council Leader Stephen Cowan Promises to Deliver Change|
Defending Charing Cross Hospital "top of our list of priorities"
As he prepares to take office as the new Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, Stephen Cowan has sent this message to residents on his blog, The Cowan Report.
Having had very little sleep and a maelstrom of activity uring the last week it is beginning to dawn on me that it’s true – the residents of Hammersmith and Fulham really did elect my colleagues and me into office on Thursday, 22nd May.
It may be a cliché but it is genuinely humbling to find myself in this position. Thank you.
In the run up to Election Day I lost count of the numbers of people who told me they usually vote Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Green or even don't usually vote but this time were all intending to vote Labour - many for the first time in their lives. I recognise that along with the thousands of Labour voters who always support my party there is an alliance of local people who have come together and hired us to deliver The Change We Need to see in this borough.
My colleagues and I will officially assume office at the council’s annual general meeting on 16th June.
Top of our list of priorities is defending Charing Cross Hospital. On 15th May David Cameron came to Hammersmith and Fulham to urge voters to back the Conservatives’ awful and dishonest hospitals plan. I understand Mr. Cameron was also telephone canvassing local residents pleading with them to vote to re-elect his favourite council on both the Election Day and the night before. They did the opposite. In fact, over 60% of the residents that voted rejected the Prime Minister’s appeals and with 22,163 votes Labour beat the Conservatives in the borough's popular vote for the first time since the 1990s. The people have spoken and if Mr. Cameron is a democrat he needs to back away from these life threatening hospital plans and listen to what the voters have said. If he refuses, I believe the consequences for his reputation, his government and the bureaucrats serving it will be dire.
Shortly after the results were announced on Friday morning I formally sent the Council’s Chief Executive our manifesto and instructed him to have his officials start work on its implementation. The due process of its delivery will form the council’s programme over the next four years. I will detail more as and when we deliver on our promises.
But we have already set much in play over the last week. That includes establishing a new council Hospital Unit to defend Charing Cross and its A&E, closing down hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of unnecessary council magazines and glossy propaganda that had been planned by the former Conservative administration and banning councillors from taking hospitality from those seeking benefit from their elected positions.
We want this new Labour administration to be one that works with residents so we have set about re-structuring the council’s processes to make them more open and democratic.
Prior to the election we carried out an extensive manifesto consultation. Hundreds of people read our manifesto which was emailed out to voters across the borough. That was the only manifesto produced by any political party that had a chance of winning the Hammersmith and Fulham council elections. The Conservatives told me they hadn't produced one because "people know what they'll get" – it turned out they were absolutely right.
June 2, 2014