Lambeth Labour are calling for a by-election in St Leonard’s ward in Streatham, after Green councillor Scott Ainslie deserted his residents for Brussels.
Cllr Ainslie was elected to represent London in the European Parliament on Sunday night, giving him little time to focus on the residents of St Leonard’s Ward that he was re-elected to represent little over a year ago.
Despite claiming not to see himself as a career politician and attacking other politicians for having jobs in addition to their councillor’s duties, Cllr Ainslie has gone from being re-elected as a councillor little over a year ago, to now being an elected Member of the European Parliament. Ainslie will now receive a salary of £5,919.37 a month, after EU tax and insurance contributions, as well as the €320 daily allowance that MEPs receive.
Cllr Ainslie has previously claimed that you don’t join the Greens or stand for them if you’re a careerist – but he is clearly proving to be the exception to the rule.
And his election to be a generously salaried MEP comes only a year after he demanded additional expenses from the council in private, whilst calling for a pay cut publicly.
Cllr Ainslie stood on a platform of representing local people and attacking Labour councillors as careerist politicians. But with Cllr Ainslie now focusing on the European Parliament, and his fellow ward councillor Jonathan Bartley being Co-Leader of the Green Party and travelling the country, it begs the question: Are the residents of St Leonard’s Ward getting the attention and representation they deserve from their elected Green councillors?
Chief Whip of Lambeth Labour Group, Cllr Rezina Chowdhury, said: “Green councillors in Lambeth have claimed to be local champions and have attacked other councillors as “career politicians”. The hypocritical reality is that at the first chance they get, they are jumping ship and cashing in for a role in Brussels.”
Cllr Ainslie supports a People’s Vote. So now it’s time to put his money where his mouth is and put the choice back to the people of St Leonard’s: do they want a councillor stuck in Brussels 4 days a week instead of representing them in the town hall? Or do they want a hard-working local councillor who will represent them?”
Lambeth Labour is calling on Cllr Ainslie to trigger a by-election so that the residents of St Leonard’s may choose a representative that is able focus on representing them fully.