Joint statement from Gareth Snell MP and Ruth Smeeth MP
Today, the Tories and Independents that run Stoke-on-Trent City Council will push through an emergency budget, slashing jobs and services to divert cash to their failing Children’s Services department.
We welcome any money to help vulnerable local kids – but the chaos and deceit that led us here needs calling out.
For the past year, senior Councillors – including Cabinet members – have put politics before people, waging a smear campaign against us in print and online. Instead of working to fix the problems in Children’s Services, they spent their time falsely claiming that we were to blame. Worse still, they falsely accused us of refusing to help get funding assistance for local kids.
None of this was true.
We have now received a full apology, and full legal fees, from Councillor Janine Bridges, Councillor Ann James and Councillor Jackie Barnes. They admitted that their claims were baseless and defamatory.
But they have still never offered an apology to those who are most deserving of one – the children they have let down across Stoke-on-Trent.
As Stoke-on-Trent’s Labour MPs, we will work with politicians from all parties and none to ensure local kids are safe and well looked after. But we simply don’t believe that the current council Cabinet is up to the job.
If they’d spent the last year listening and engaging, we could have fixed the problem together. Instead, hundreds of Council employees face losing their jobs – all to pay for the appalling ineptitude of the council.