The hypocrisy of Southampton's Labour Party over the closure of Portswood and Shirley police stations is absolutely incredible. It also offers a very clear picture of the approach they would take if they ever run Southampton City Council.
Southampton has two representatives on the Hampshire Police Authority; myself a Conservative and Cllr Jacqui Rayment, the Labour representative and Chairman.
At every recent Authority meeting I have spoken out against the loss of our community police stations. I spoke out against it at the public meeting at St Georges School along with 11 other Southampton Conservative Councillors. I have fought for future replacements to have front desks that are open to the public. I have suggested numerous ways to keep front desks, such as sharing facilities with Southampton City Council and the use of police volunteers. I voted AGAINST the closures.
Labour's Chairman voted FOR the closures, and has repeatedly defended the decisions in meetings, saying that our local police stations don't need to be open to the public in an age when people have the internet and telephones.
Now for Labour to say that they shouldn't close is not just hypocritical it is utterly deceitful. Their excuse? Don't blame us, blame the government. This is exactly the same excuse Labour in Manchester and Liverpool are using as they close libraries and Sure Start centres. Don't blame us they say when they close the local facilities, blame the government. Don't blame us for wrecking the country's finances, blame the banks, blame the Americans, blame anyone other than us.
They will do exactly the same in Southampton if Labour run the City Council. They will close our libraries, our Sure Start centres and leisure centres, cut the weekly bin collections and hike up council tax. And they will say don't blame us, blame the government. However it doesn't have to be like that. Southampton Conservatives will keep open ALL our libraries, Sure Start centres and leisure centres and we want community police stations that are open to the public and we will fight to keep them!