Banbury Constituency Labour Party


Are you registered to vote? – Oxfordshire County Council elections are on Thursday 4 May

Unless you are on the Electoral Register you cannot vote (even if you pay council tax) Don’t lose your vote! No vote = no say

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To register to vote go to The last date to register to vote: Thursday 13 April

Selfie: Our Canvassing team out supporting candidate Joe Walsh in Banbury Calthorpe

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Left to right: Sean, Tony, Henry, Phil and candidate Joe Walsh

Joe says, “I live locally and am active in the community. I am passionate about education and serve as a governor of a local primary school. As a project manager at the University of Oxford, I am used to getting things done.

I want housing developments to provide truly affordable homes for our local families to buy or rent. They must be supported with improved traffic management and good local facilities. I believe this means good bus services as well as better roads. I am an enthusiastic supporter of the Horton General Hospital and will continue to campaign vigorously for the retention of full clinical services.”

Lord Alf Dubs questions Government’s commitment to refugee children

Alf Dubs small reversed

Lord Alf Dubs

On Saturday 11 March 2017 we welcomed Lord Alf Dubs to our supper club and he described his experiences last year visiting the refugee camp in Calais, and seeing first hand the migrant crisis in Greece and Italy.

Alf was a child of the Kinderstransport trains and previously Labour MP for Battersea. In 2016 he sponsored an amendment to the Immigration Act 2016 to offer unaccompanied refugee children safe passage to Britain. The ‘Dubs Amendment’ as it became known was originally accepted by the government but abandoned in 2017 with the UK having accepted only 350 children out of a planned 3000.

Alf Dubs said, “The government were not being honest about how many refugee children we could take. They were claiming that local authorities could not cope; but several councils were saying that they had not been asked and could take them.”

He said, “Let your voice be heard. The best way people could help was to put pressure on their MPs and local authorities. I know that many Tory MPs and councillors, as well as Labour, are unhappy with the Government position.”


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Owen Collins (left) with Alf Dubs

Before Alf Dubs spoke, Owen Collins – performance poet – explained that a Refugee Action Group had been formed in Witney. Owen’s first poem was entitled “Adopt a Room” (video) which told the story of how Witney people had responded to the need of refugees. Accommodation had been provided for several refugee families in Witney, including some basic furnishings. However there were several omissions, for example duvets but no duvet covers, and no curtains. An appeal was made to the community, volunteers chose a room, and within 4 hours all the accommodation had been fully furnished.

His second poem, “The Great Wall of Calais”, (video) was written in response to the Tory government building a wall around the refugee camp in Calais and planting flowers on the outside of the wall. In contrast, the poem celebrated the generous donations made to support refugees, and movingly imagined the building of a metaphorical wall of clothes, bedding, and other necessities.

Photography by Philip Le Mare

London March Against NHS cuts (Saturday 4 March 2017)

Barry & Mark NHS Lodon Demo 2017

Councillors Barry Richards (second left) and Mark Cherry (right), join 250,000 people marching against the Tories’ war of attrition on the NHS. Barry said, “It was clear on the march that the Horton is one of many hospitals facing closure and or cuts in vital services. This is why the demonstration was necessary. Our NHS is under threat and we need the government to invest in this vital service and back away from its plans to cut more than 20 billion pounds.”

Both proud to actively support the Save the Horton campaign and take part in the national campaign.

If you were unlucky to have missed out on Alf Dubs, we have another very interesting speaker in June:

Barry Gardiner MP

Barry Gardiner MP

Supper Club on Friday June 16Barry Gardiner MP for Brent North and Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change)

Advanced bookings only. Early Bird £12 until 31 May, thereafter £13.50.

To reserve your place(s) Email Mary Evans Young:

Please give the name(s) of those you are booking for & any veggie/dietary requirements.

Mary will then send you payment details.

Banbury Councillor wants action on new link road


Cllr Mark Cherry on Bankside

Cllr Mark Cherry on Bankside

Banbury Councillor Mark Cherry says it’s time for the County Council to relieve Banbury’s increasingly serious traffic congestion and move ahead quickly with a proposed new link road connecting Bankside to Overthorpe Road, to the east of junction 11 of the M40.

Mark Cherry has tabled a motion to the next full meeting of Oxfordshire County Council (21 March 2017) seeking urgent consideration of the Bankside link road.

The need for a link road has been identified in the consultation document, ‘Banbury Vision and Masterplan’ and in the County Council’s Transport Infrastructure Plan. Another option was a bridge across the railway near Banbury station connecting Tramway Road and Higham Way, but this has been discounted because of cost and other issues.

Mark Cherry says, “This link road is needed urgently if the town is to avoid total gridlock on its roads. Oxfordshire is a net contributor to the National Economy and the North of the county continues to grow with the construction of HS2, new businesses moving into the area and the construction of at least 8000 new homes.

This issue has been talked about for over 30 years and it is now time for action.

Even if the plan get’s the green light it will need a feasibility study and public consultation which could take years, and at the moment we have a window of opportunity before available land get’s developed – Banbury can’t wait much longer.”

Guest Speaker Keir Starmer MP at our best attended supper club – ever.

Cllr Sean Woodcock with Keir Starmer MP

Cllr Sean Woodcock with Keir Starmer MP

Keir Starmer MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, spoke at a fund raising event in Banbury on 10th February and said that the last couple of weeks have been the toughest he has ever had.

He said he had accepted the vote on the EU Referendum and so had the Labour Party, but that Parliament will still have a huge amount of control over the final deal. Issues like immigration policy and the UK’s tax status will need primary legislation.

Starmer, a former human rights’ lawyer and Director of Public prosecutions said, “That verdict [EU referendum] had been coming for years and was the result of political failures on all sides. The phrase ‘Take Back Control’ resonated with many people and we need to understand why. People are living in fragile employment situations, people can’t control rising costs, there have been massive cuts to public services and people feel they have little control of their environment. And there is the key issue of immigration – the pace of change in many communities as a result of immigration was too great and there is a profound sense that there is too much influence and wealth concentrated in the south-east.”

He said, “I’ve been around the country to talk about the effects of immigration and met many business people. When I asked them what was the biggest inhibitor to your success the vast majority said, ‘There is a skills shortage right across the UK’. That’s why Labour needs to understand and address the issues coming out of the EU Referendum result and develop an industrial strategy that addresses skills shortages and the impacts of globalisation, as well as delivering quality public services.”

He said, “We cannot afford to lose another election if we want to change society for the better. We have to promote a vision of a better future for our country and offer a Labour Party which is ambitious and radical but also has the trust of the electorate.”

Photography by Derek Evans

Call for Oxfordshire health watchdog to take a broader view of health sector provision and consider the effects of Brexit

Cllrs Sean Woodcock and Steve Kilsby

Cllrs Sean Woodcock and Steve Kilsby

Banbury and Bicester Labour Party welcomes the decision of the Oxfordshire health watchdog (HOSC) to refer to the Secretary of State for Health, the temporary closure of the consultant-led maternity unit at the Horton Hospital.

Cllr Sean Woodcock, Leader of the Labour Group on Cherwell District Council says, In 2008, it was referred to the then Secretary of State, Labour’s Alan Johnson who made the correct decision to retain services at the Horton. We can now hope that history repeats itself and that Jeremy Hunt will make the right call for the people of Banbury and beyond.”

In addition, Banbury and Bicester Labour Party are saying that the issues of health provision need to be considered in the light of the failure of the social care sector and uncertainty in recruitment following Brexit.

In an open letter to the health watchdog (HOSC) Cllrs Sean Woodcock and Steve Kilsby, respectively leaders of the Labour Groups on the district and town councils, have written, “The demand for treatment is increasing year upon year and unprecedented cuts to the money given to councils by central government, has had the effect of virtually condemning the social care sector to failure.

The knock-on effect of this is that more and more people are turning up to NHS hospitals because of the absence of adequate social care. The measures that have been proposed for allowing increases in council tax are completely inadequate sticking plasters applied to gaping wounds, and need a major overhaul.  They are symptomatic of a government that is not leading on the issue and is instead passing the buck on to local councils.

Matters will only get worse with an anticipated £200m funding gap for Oxfordshire in 2020-21.”

The Health trust say they have struggled to recruit obstetric doctors to the Horton so Labour councillors want the watchdog to ask what representations have they made, if any, to central government regarding staffing and the importance of any post-Brexit arrangements allowing NHS providers to recruit the best staff from around the world?

Labour Leaders Woodcock and Kilsby say they are aware of the pressures that have been put on the health watchdog by increasing publicity but say, “By pushing for answers to these questions, we will ensure that the people who rely on the Horton Hospital and who care about its future are properly served.”


The Tory government is taking Britain backwards and failing to meet the challenges of our time. These ten pledges set out the framework for what Labour will campaign for – and what a Labour government will do.


1. Full employment

2. A secure homes guarantee

3. Security at work

4. A secure NHS and social care

5. A National Education service

6. Action to secure our environment

7. Put the public back into our economy

8. Cut inequality in income and wealth

9. Action to secure an equal society

10. Peace and justice at the heart of foreign policy


We in the local Labour Party want to exert a positive influence on the future of Banbury and would welcome your views.This short survey will take you less than a couple of minutes – simply PRESS the red buttonWhat matters to me

A RED WAVE IS HAPPENING …. Membership of the Banbury & Bicester Labour Party has increased by 200%  over the last year. Our Party nationally now has 540,000 members – making it by far the biggest political party in Europe. Come & join us.  Ring 01295 810813 to get the reduced rate.

The Banbury Labour Party constituency is divided into 3 Branches:

    • Banbury Town
    • Bicester & District
    • North Oxfordshire Villages

To work out in which Branch you live, see the constituency map.Since May 2010 your local Labour Party has been actively campaigning against the speed and scale of cuts to public services that are affecting the most vulnerable in our local communities. These include cuts to housing, transport services, policing, libraries, health and social care.The Conservative-led Coalition cuts go too far and too fast and, through increased unemployment, low paid jobs, many with zero hour contracts, there is a highly negative effect on the economy which although showing some small signs of recovery is still extremely fragile. There are almost a million young people unemployed which is a shocking statistic. As the burden on state services from cost of living crisis increases, the budget deficit becomes harder to reduce. The Banbury Labour Party is fighting for a strategy for growth, an increase in employment and better paid jobs, and reducing the deficit through this growth, rather than excessive cuts.