FIRST LAMBETH COUNCILLOR BREAKS RANKS OVER LIBRARIES “Our libraries are already healthy living centres”
The first Lambeth Labour councillor to break ranks over the hugely controversial libraries plans has explained the reason for her decision.
In a lengthy statement Cllr Rachel Heywood, who was among the 2,000 who took part in last Saturday’s march, says: “Our libraries are already healthy living centres, just not the kind with treadmills and a charge to enter.
“Standing up to speak on my own in Windrush Square was a lot harder than walking with those passionate crowds.
“In doing so I defied the political leadership of Lambeth and put at significant risk my role as a Labour councillor, one of which I am immensely proud. “But on Saturday, and now, I know I did the right thing, and I don’t regret it.
“Lambeth’s cabinet is faced with the most difficult of tasks and they deserve our support for taking it on: I am truly sad I had to withdraw mine, and so publicly.”
At a meeting of around 100 library campaigners in the Tate library Brixton last night she was praised for her act of courage. “It shouldn’t be – but it is this borough” said one campaigner.
Later in the meeting another campaigner said “Everyone in the Labour party needs to be saying to their councillors: ‘We want you to do what Rachel Heywood did. “There’s a handful of councillors who could be pushed to do so.
“There are councillors who are not going to allow Rachel Heywood to be pushed around and suspended.”
Cllr Heywood told News From Crystal Palace earlier this week she had received an “amazing response from hundreds of people.”
Asked about rumours of one woman Labour councillor who left a meeting after being told she could not vote against or abstain, Cllr Heywood confirmed she was the councillor who left “as we’d been instructed to vote in support of the proposal, which I wasn’t able to do.”