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SALFORD ASSISTANT MAYOR NO SHOW AT MENTAL HEALTH LOBBY
 

Star date: 3rd October 2012

COUNCILLOR PETER CONNOR BOTTLES OUT OF MENTAL HEALTH LOBBY

`Councillor Connor's Invisible Surgery'

Tonight, over a dozen service users and campaigners opposed to Salford Council cuts to Mental Health Services turned up at the regular surgery held by Councillor Peter Connor, the Assistant Mayor with responsibility for Adult Social Services.

They had planned to ask him why he is cutting support for people with mental health issues. Unfortunately Councillor Connor didn't show up. But Kersal ward Councillor George Wilson, who did appear, told service users that he supported their campaign…

Full story here…


Councillor Connor's Invisible Surgery in Salford
click image to enlarge

Councillor Peter Connor, the Assistant Mayor with responsibility for Adult Social Services, whose decision it is to slash £80,000 from Salford's Mental Health Services, was due to hold a public surgery at St Aidan Church in his ward of Kersal this evening. Over a dozen service users, carers, trade unionists and activists turned up to lobby him...

Over recent weeks, they had met City Mayor, Ian Stewart, and Labour Leader, Ed Miliband to discuss the cuts. Surely a local councillor wouldn't be that hard to get an audience with?

While the campaigners waited for over half an hour in the rain, Councillor Connor didn't show up for his advertised public surgery. The doors of St Aidan were locked and a local youth leader who normally opens up said he'd received a phone call saying that the surgery for the three Kersal ward councillors – Connor, Humphries and Wilson - was not happening.

After a while, however, a surprised Councillor George Wilson arrived to be met with the protest…

"I came to do my surgery and didn't expect this" he said "Actually it's nice to see that so many people care."

Did he know where Councillor Connor was? "I've no idea unless he's got another appointment" he replied "There's three ward councillors and I've come down as one of them but I can't speak for the other two councillors. He was due here, yes, so whether he's been delayed…"

Did he think that Councillor Connor might have bottled it? "Peter never bottles anything…"

Given that there was no Councillor Connor in sight, what did Councillor Wilson think of the campaign against the planned cuts to Mental Health Services?

"I think it's tremendous that people care" he said "Without carers in the community we'd be buggered…"

And the drop-in closures? "That's not my decision; that's for other people who are more powerful than me" he explained "I'd retain them but that's just me speaking."

That's two Labour Councillors – Councillor Wilson and Councillor Peter Wheeler - who have gone public in the last two days to oppose the Mental Health Service cuts by the Labour Council. The Salford Star understands that Salford MP, Hazel Blears, will be visiting a drop-in group next week and might possibly go public with her support for the campaign.

Councillor Peter Connor and Mayor, Ian Stewart, are looking increasingly isolated in their plans to cut services for some of Salford's most vulnerable people. Indeed, tonight, Councillor Connor just looked…invisible…as campaigners held up the notice to passers by… `Councillor Connor's Invisible Surgery'

"This, unfortunately, is democracy in Labour's heartland, that Councillor Connor hasn't turned up for an advertised surgery" said Paul Gerrard from Salford Against The Cuts "It could be possibly to do with the fact that Salford Star advertised the protest that would be taking place tonight. Nevertheless, we welcome Councillor Wilson's support."

* The Salford Star has e-mailed Councillor Connor asking him why he didn't show up for his surgery and if he has a message for the campaigners. We are waiting to hear from him…

For more background on the campaign and the cuts see previous Salford Star article – click here and follow the links

UPDATE: 1:30pm 4th October

Councillor Connor has responded via Salford City Council, his spokesperson explaining that "Councillor Humphreys is the only Kersal Ward Councillor who holds a Ward Surgery at St Aidan’s Church. However, having checked the website, I can understand where the confusion has arisen. Our web team are currently taking steps to rectify this to avoid any confusion occurring in the future."

Which doesn't really explain when, where and if CouncillorConnor does actually do his surgery. And neither does it explain why Councillor Wilson turned up to do the surgery...


Photo by Phil Hamer

Vee Ball wrote
at 22:22:54 on 05 October 2012
VEE OF USUC WROTE this sounds like a job for sherlock homes and perhaps another best selling book entitled the case of the missing connors. Can not stop lsaughing at all the comments and the star brilliant writing of this matter which is serious however with comedians like this runninbg our council and our lives how can we help but laugh.
 
wrote
at 17:52:10 on 04 October 2012
I think you will find that very few councillors hold real live surgeries,they are far tooo busy for that. I know in Langworthy the only person that regularly held a live monthly surgery was Lynn Drake-now gone. I dont think I can recall when John Warmisham last held one
 
susan U.S.U.C Secretary wrote
at 16:45:14 on 04 October 2012
I have just looked on Salford City Council website to see if I could find out if councilor Connor does have a surgery and it tells me that he has one at St Aidan Church, Littleton Road, Salford on the First Wednesday of each month 6.30pm to 7.30pm. If this is wrong then why haven’t the people that do the website put this right or is that too much for them?
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 13:29:50 on 04 October 2012
Maybe he got a conscience and defected from the Labour Party?
 
Gareth L wrote
at 12:38:04 on 04 October 2012
Lets hope Councilor Connor and Mr Stewart never need to access the Mental Health Services in Salford. Then again as they are on the gravy train they can probably afford to go private. I'm disgusted that an elected official can act in such a way, I can only hope that he had a legitimate reason for his non attendance.
 
Purple nose wrote
at 12:37:59 on 04 October 2012
He probably didn't show because he had nipped down the Offy and decided to have a night in. Well known council ploy to ignore or avoid something. They know most people will only turn up for one meeting/write one letter/send one email. Avoid the initial thing and then the councils problem largely goes away although the ACTUAL PROBLEM remains. I think the polite way of saying it is that "they put their heads in the sand", but we all know that their heads are somewhere else dark. Maybe the exception to this is if the sun really does shine from Peel Holding's -------
 
Graham Cooper wrote
at 09:56:35 on 04 October 2012
When the going gets tough Councillor Goner does his usual disappearing act. Without his usual prepared statements he has not a word to say. You must remember this is the Councillor responsible for our disjointed,decimated housing stock in this city. That was his last legacy, what will be his next? Dont hold your breath people this geezer is the master of "smoking mirrors" and pathetic explanations...
 
joseph O'Neill wrote
at 09:56:10 on 04 October 2012
If you take the money and the Role of assistant mayor you are in reality rubber stamping Salford Labours view or actions,if you take those actions without offering a view right or wrong,and then run away from facing the people who you are paid to represent,then i would have thought you have forfit the right to represent them.
 
Not happy and others not happy wrote
at 06:36:36 on 04 October 2012
I can't beleave that Councillor Connor did'nt turn up tonite for his regular surgery. what are we paying these people for; it seems not to look after the the people of Salford, We just want'ed to know why he has done a U turn, when he had told service users that he was going back to his office and tell the Mayor to leave the drop in's alone because the services were needed, then later that day he turns round and says that two of the drop in staff was on 90 days notice; the problem with this is that the members of staff are two key workers; and do a lot for the comunity, if they are made redundent that means a lose to the comunity that can not be replaced.So councillor Connor what made you change your mind.Why did you not turn up tonite
 
steve U.S.U.C. wrote
at 22:17:40 on 03 October 2012
So disappointed that councillor Connor did not turn up tonight,think he has bottled it.When we meet with him a few weeks ago,he told us he was a peoples person.Not much of peoples person tonight,let a lot of people down.Also said how important these drop-ins were and if anything we need more of them.
 
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