Labour councillors have complained after the controlling Conservative group said it would not allow those taking part in the ‘People’s March for the NHS’ to book a room at the Guildhall.
At a full Northampton Borough Council on Monday night, the Labour Group put forward a motion that to ‘welcome’ the protestors to the town on September 2, as they campaign to keep the NHS a public service.
The march follows the basic route of the historic 480km Jarrow Crusade, starting in Jarrow on August 16 and finishing on September 6. It is due to arrive in Northampton on September 2.
The motion, proposed by Councillor David Palethorpe and seconded by Councillor Danielle Stone, was voted down by Tory councillors who, Labour say, also vetoed Labour’s proposal to book the venue for the group privately at a cost of £1,000.
Defending his position at Monday’s meeting, leader of the Conservative council, David Mackintosh, said that he could not support the march as it was a protest against Conservative Government policy.
Councillor David Palethorpe said he thought it ‘incredible’ to believe the council “has cancelled what is a private booking of the Guildhall by the Labour Party which would have brought in the region of £1,000 to the Council and all because he doesn’t want to be embarrassed by those who oppose his support for the privatisation of the NHS.”
Councillor Danielle Stone added: “The Guildhall is a public building and therefore anybody within reason should be allowed to make a booking. Tories have vetoed it for political reasons. Just shows he can’t handle public debate and has total disregard for the NHS.”