Banbury Constituency Labour Party

Labour Cllrs. Woodcock and Dhesi at The Co-operative Party Local Government Conference (24 June 2017 Birmingham)

Co-operative approaches in local government – a quiet revolution

The U.K’s housing crisis and possible solutions were the main focus of the Co-op Party Local Government conference in Birmingham last weekend (24 June 2017). The conference was told that, “a revolution is taking place in local government where increasingly, co-operative approaches are used to shape local economies and services and to put local people in control.”

Two Labour Party Councillors Sean Woodcock and Surinder Dhesi attended the conference at which representatives of the not-for-profit, South Oxfordshire Housing Association, which has 50 properties in Cherwell, explained how they are providing social and affordable housing, as well as shared ownerships, for people struggling to afford housing in the private rental sector.

Sean Woodcock, Surinder Dhesi, Nic Bliss

Sean Woodcock, Surinder Dhesi, Nic Bliss

Councillor Surinder Dhesi said, “Through tenant’s forums and representation on Governing Boards, co-operative housing empowers tenants to be more involved in decision making and improving their environment.”

Councillor Sean Woodcock says, “In the wake of the awful tragedy at Grenfell, concerns are rightly focused on how effectively housing providers engage with and are responsive to their tenants. Co-operative housing offers a real alternative way forward.”


Labour calls on Victoria Prentis MP to “Hold the Prime Minister to ransom to save the Horton”

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Labour’s leader on Cherwell District Council Sean Woodcock (above) has called on Banbury’s re-elected Tory MP Victoria Prentis to “hold the government to ransom” in order to save services at the Horton Hospital.

Councillor Woodcock, who was the Labour candidate in the recent general election as well as in 2015, said “In her victory speech just two weeks ago; Victoria Prentis said that she wanted to work with Labour in order to protect services at the Horton. Well I am asking her to listen to Labour now and hold her government to ransom if necessary in order to protect the services there.”

Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) held a meeting this week to discuss the first phase of the consultation, which ran earlier this year and included issues such as Maternity services. The OCCG board are set to make a final decision on the 10 August.

He continued, “Victoria is right to raise concerns about the process and findings of the consultation run by the OCCG. Yet behind this consultation is the Sustainability & Transformation Plan (STP). And the primary driver for the STP is under-funding of health and social care in the face of increased demand.

Since being elected two years ago Victoria has supported Conservative budgets which have implemented cuts in these areas, voted consistently against motions to give more money to the NHS and social care and voted against the STPs being open to greater public consultation.

We now have a hung parliament and a weak Prime Minister scrabbling around to do a deal with the Democratic Unionists. So Victoria has potentially more influence than any Banbury MP for a number of decades. She must be very clear that her support for the government, and her vote, is conditional on retaining key services like maternity, at the Horton Hospital.”

Barry Gardiner MP honoured commitment he made to Banbury & Bicester Labour Party

The Labour Party’s new media star charms us all at Supper Club

(Friday 16 June 2017)

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Sean Woodcock and Barry Gardiner MP


Last week, the Banbury and Bicester Labour Party Supper Club hosted Barry Gardiner, who is MP for Brent North, and Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade. Labour’s parliamentary candidate, Councillor Sean Woodcock, welcomed him to Banbury. Our Fund Raiser Mary Evans Young said “I booked Barry in September of 2016, and was worried that he would be too busy after the General Election to come to us, but he told me, “I made that commitment, I’m not going to let you down.”

Before we got going at the supper club Barry went round all the tables introducing himself to members and guests, which was very much appreciated.

During his speech he said, “When Tories are back in government we will harry them, table different amendments, and seek to undo that unwilling coalition within the Tory party.”

Barry has gained prominence from his many television appearances during the recent General Election campaign. The New Statesman said recently, ‘His fiery media interviews have made him the unlikely star of Labour’s campaign” and quoted Barry as saying, “I am absolutely cool with the media being tough. But if they’re gonna get tough with me, then they shouldn’t expect me to just roll over and have my tummy tickled.”

Reflections on the General Election result

He said this was a most extraordinary election, in which the party emerging with the most seats feels it has lost and the party with fewer seats feels they have won.

When asked the reasons for the surge in the Labour vote, he said, “It was the arrogance of the Tories and their assumptions that they could walk straight back into Downing Street and that the electorate had nowhere to go except to vote for ‘me’ (Theresa May). None of us like being taken for granted.

But the turning point was our manifesto – in my 41 years as a Labour member I have never seen one like it. And it was Jeremy Corbyn’s campaigning. In my constituency of Brent North, which is a mixed community with people on low incomes and half of my constituents are immigrants or refugees, people are coming up to me saying they are praying for Jeremy to be Prime Minister. They trust his integrity; they trust him and they believe he will deliver on his promises.

Barry said, “Whenever Labour MP’s were interviewed on television they were strongly challenged over the manifesto, but because we had costed every single promise we were able to defend them.”

“A good example” he said, “is free tuition fees, which Labour has costed at £13.2 billion per annum. We want young people to have a good start in life but the U.K.’s low corporation tax means that multinational companies are sitting on huge cash piles and paying out dividends to shareholders, with no investment in apprentiships or training. We know and understand that if we don’t support disaffected young people we are storing up problems for the future.

“The British economy and jobs are our top priority”

On Brexit he said, “As a party we didn’t support Brexit but accept the result. Brexit was all about political objectives – to be out of the European Court of Human Rights, to regain our sovereignty and to control immigration – we are now paying the price of these political objectives.

The EU’s four freedoms go – the free movement of goods, capital, services and labour, but equally so do the benefits. Right-wing Tories want deregulation; we want environmental protections, social protections and workers’ protections.

We must complete Brexit negotiations before the 2 years are up otherwise we will be ejected from EU. Because the EU wants to stay united they can’t give us a better deal outside than we had inside, so we have to minimise economic damage. The British economy and jobs are our top priority, not based on a first principal of controlling immigration, and we want a reformed relationship with EU. But everything else is secondary to capturing most of the benefits we have now.

The tone has to change in our negotiations with Europe and the Labour Party will communicate to the country, a positive agenda to grow our economy and boost jobs for all.”

Sean Woodcock said, “Barry was one of the stars of the election campaign for Labour and it was great to have him here to rally us for any potential future election.

He made it clear that the Tories are on the back foot having been shown as arrogant and out-of-touch. Banbury & Bicester Labour are ready for the next encounter.”

“A fire of this magnitude and devastation should not be happening in this day and age” – Leader Labour Group, Cherwell District Council

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Cllr Sean Woodcock

“The Grenfell Tower fire is an awful tragedy and my heart goes out to all of those who have lost loved ones, been injured or find themselves without a home.

The highest of tributes must go out to both the emergency services who once again showed off their incredible professionalism, dedication and bravery.

I and the other Ruscote Labour councillors have already made contact with Sanctuary Housing for reassurance that the maisonettes on Bretch Hill are properly protected.

Obviously we do not yet know the full facts, however a fire of this magnitude and devastation should not be happening in this day and age.

Yet it’s highly likely that a combination of three things contributed to this appalling incident; rank incompetence, inadequate legislation and under-funding.

The investigation will bring out the facts and any possible charges for the first, and the second is where the independent inquiry comes into play.

However the third will only be solved by a change of government; to ensure that our homes are built to the highest health and safety standards and landlords, housing associations and councils have the time and resources to carry out proper checks of our housing estates and tower blocks.”

Sean Woodcock

Leader Labour Group Cherwell Council



Sean Woodcock at Banbury Cross GE2017

Votes cast were;
Dickie Bird UKip – 1581
Roseanne Edwards – independent – 927
John Howson – Lib Dem – 3452
Ian Middleton – Green – 1225
Victoria Prentis – Conservative – 33,388
Sean Woodcock – Labour – 20,989

Turnout 73.5%

A message from Sean:

“I am obviously disappointed not to win, but this was still a very good result for us. 8,000 more votes, our highest vote share since 2001 and Victoria Prentis’ majority cut by 5,000.

Nationally we didn’t win a majority to form a government and so this cannot be considered a victory. But what we have seen is an utter rejection of Theresa May and the Conservatives. This is particularly obvious among young people who were clearly motivated by Brexit and inspired by Jeremy Corbyn to vote in numbers that have not been seen before.

I am grateful to everyone who helped in my campaign and for all the wonderful messages of support I have received.”

Sean Woodcock

Turnout 73.5%
BANBURY CONSTITUENCY 2015 General Election Results
Candidate Party Votes
Dickie Bird UKIP 8,050
Roseanne Edwards National Health Action Party 729
John Howson Liberal Democrats 3,440
Ian Middleton Green 2,686
Victoria Prentis Conservative 30,749
Sean Woodcock Labour 12,354


A Message from Sean Woodcock, our Parliamentary Candidate

Sean Woodcock at Banbury Cross GE2017

Our constituency, like our country, stands at a crossroads.

The choice is simple.

On the one hand: more of the same from Victoria Prentis and Theresa May’s increasingly right wing Conservative party.
On the other: hope.

A conservative government will strip the assets of our NHS. Our Horton hospital is at risk. Victoria, I know, wants to protect that hospital. We all do. We all do. If there is one thing that people in our town are passionate about it is that. We all want to save the Horton.

The Conservative party though are committed to following the recommendations of the Naylor Report, which proposes that trusts sell off as much of their land and assets as they can to developers in order to generate income. That is not a viable solution, not for our town and not for our country. There might not be much of the NHS left after another five years of the Conservatives, but it is almost certain that under them we will lose our Horton hospital as we know and love it now.

That matters to me.

I am standing in this election to help save our hospital.

I am standing in this election because under the Conservatives, funding for education has decreased significantly in our constituency, while at the same time the government has given tax breaks for millionaires.

I’m standing in this election because although as a constituency we are wealthy, more and more people in our town and villages are dependent on food banks.

I’m standing because I want to give a voice to all those who have been overlooked, to all those who have been ignored, all those who the system always seems rigged against.

I’m standing because I believe that the people of this constituency should be represented by someone who will look out for everyone, rather than just the privileged few.

I’m standing because I think the world could be better than this.

If you’re with me, I need your help. We all have to work together to make this work.

The first bit’s easy: vote. Vote for a better world. Vote for hope. Vote Labour.

The second bit’s harder. Our constituency is full of people who have given up on hope; who think voting in this safe Tory seat is a waste of time or who are unsure as to how to make a difference. We need to get the message to them.

If you can, share this post. Whoever you are: you can make a difference. There will be people who might read this message when you post it and who might regain that hope.

This is our only chance. We have until ten o’clock tonight to make a difference.

Together, let’s show that we are all willing to stand up for what we believe.

Vote Labour. Share this with your friends. Spread the message.

Vote Labour. For the many, not the few.