A COUNCILLOR has resigned from the Labour Party after claiming members have been ‘betrayed’ by leader Jeremy Corbyn over Brexit.

Cllr Dan Price, executive board member for culture and partnerships, made the shock announcement this afternoon, Friday.

The Great Sankey North and Whittle Hall ward councillor, who has long been opposed to Brexit, admits he can no longer campaign for a party ‘that is helping the Tories deliver Brexit’.

He says members have been ‘betrayed by Jeremy Corbyn’s pretence’ of supporting Remain during the referendum after it ‘subsequently emerged he is an ardent Brexiteer’.

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Cllr Price said: “Local businesses and constituents continually ask me what Labour is doing to protect them from the chaos and uncertainty of Brexit.

“And it has become increasingly difficult for me to look them in the eye and say Labour is fighting to protect your best interests.

“In my heart, I know this is simply not true.”

In a letter of resignation to group leader Cllr Russ Bowden, he also expressed his sadness that Labour continues to ‘ignore all the evidence showing Brexit will make Britain poorer’, along with ignoring the views of the ‘majority’ of party members.

And he also had a dig at Warrington North MP Helen Jones.

He said: “I can no longer watch the Labour Party doubling down on denial and be complicit in it.

“This culture of denial is all pervasive.

“Warrington North’s MP is chair of the petitions select committee and speaks passionately on asking the Government to listen to the strength of public feeling on issues like stricter fireworks regulations.

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“But when it comes to the biggest ever petition calling on the Government to halt the Brexit process, she remains silent.

“This illustrates how Labour has utterly lost its way.”

Elected as Warrington’s youngest ever councillor in 2011, Cllr Price said he wanted to thank colleagues for their camaraderie and support over the years and was proud of what they achieved together.

He added: “We’ve really refocused Warrington’s cultural ambitions and are now in a good position to help our town centre adapt to changing needs and prosper under a community hub model.”

Pledging to continue working as an independent councillor, he insists he remains passionate about his hometown.

But on the issue of Brexit which, he says, threatens to cause ‘untold damage’ for future generations, he admits he could not remain ‘in a Brexit-supporting party’.


Dear Colleagues,

It is with great sadness that I wish to inform you of my decision to resign from the Labour Party.

This has not been an easy decision for me to reach, but over many months I have come to the conclusion that I can no longer campaign for or represent a party that is helping the Tories deliver Brexit. As the evidence continues to grow not just of the economic damage that Brexit will cause, but the likelihood it will also break up the union, I cannot in all conscience remain a member of a Brexit-supporting Labour Party. 

You will know that my views on Europe reflect the majority of Labour members and it is a source of great sadness that the party leadership continues to defy members wishes.

With local businesses and constituents regularly asking me what Labour is doing to protect them from the chaos and uncertainty of Brexit, it has become increasingly difficult for me to look them in the eye and say Labour is fighting to protect your best interests. 

In my heart I know this is simply not true.

Not only does the leadership continue to ignore all the evidence showing Brexit will make Britain poorer, but party leadership has shown an astonishing tin ear to the wishes of the million who marched and the six million who petitioned to revoke article 50.

Warrington North’s own MP is Chair of the petitions select committee and she has spoken passionately on the importance of the petitions system on some issues – urging the Government to listen to the strength of public feeling on stricter fireworks regulations. Yet on an issue where public feeling was infinitely stronger - in the biggest ever petition calling on the Government to halt the Brexit process - she remained silent.

This illustrates how Labour has utterly lost its way.

I put myself forward to be a councillor eight years ago because I wanted to help improve our communities and give something back to Warrington. 

I was grateful to be given this opportunity and would like to put on record my huge appreciation for the camaraderie shown by colleagues over the years.  With your support, I am proud to look back on the following achievements:

Chairing the City of Culture Bid which refocused the Borough’s cultural ambitions.

Launched the cultural commission resulting in 15 recommendations, much of which are already being delivered.

Public realm improvements in the Cultural Quarter, with further private development now following.

The establishment of the Business Improvement District meaning an extra £1.8m for the town centre over the next 5 years, and a new partnership board.

The Neighbourhood Weekender –  bringing some of the biggest names in music and over 50,000 visitors to Warrington, generating over £3m for the local economy.

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A refreshed approach to delivering Warrington contemporary arts festival – this year will be the biggest and most ambitious yet.

We’ve established a new cultural board and consortium with the town’s stakeholders properly represented and a Cultural framework everyone can buy into.

After decades of stagnation, we now have a tangible plan for delivering a new producing theatre in the Drill Hall – something we should be proud of and that we can build on.

We’ve invested in a digital co-working hub in the Pyramid, as well as developing a plan to fix the historic issues with the building – all supported by Arts Council England.

During budget discussions, I made the case for protecting “Warrington Voluntary Action” – An organisation who do what the Borough Council no longer can or could.

Championed the importance of events, meaning more frequent and bigger town centre events such as the makers market, an even bigger Oktoberfest this year, and much more.

I secured the support of Bill Grimsey’s team for our bid to the Future High Street Fund - submitting a £25m bid to make the town centre somewhere younger generations can live, work, and play.

The inclusion of Culture and thousands of Town centre homes in the Local Plan – This has the potential to completely transform the cultural offer in this town.

Reinvigorated the European partnership between ourselves and Hilden, Germany.

Whilst much has been achieved, there is vital unfinished business for whoever succeeds me as the executive member in the soon to be reconfigured Culture & Growth Portfolio.

Culture Warrington deserves visionary strategic leadership. Through the demands of myself, and the determination of their staff, the organisation has only recently started to reach its full potential. But they now need a chair that deeply understands the cultural sector, can inspire the board and senior management, all whilst rising above the politics in this town.

Walton Hall Estates must integrate with the council’s culture, events, and tourism strategy. Yes, we saved it from privatisation, but not so it could become the playground for a couple of councillors. Despite my best efforts and repeated attempts, there has never been the political appetite to realise this opportunity. This change is needed now more than ever.

The Council has so far failed to deliver the transformation work neighbouring authorities have. Austerity means we must take difficult decisions. Efforts to generate new income are commendable, but we are increasing our exposure to investments when we need to be doubling our efforts to transform and reduce service costs. If members take anything from my resignation, let this be it.

With all-out elections in May 2020, I have decided to sit as an Independent Councillor until Change UK becomes a registered political party, and I promise to continue giving my all for the residents of Great Sankey North & Whittle Hall.

I am passionate about my home town and the community I live in and represent. Leaving the Labour Party will never change this. I’m sure you all agree; we live in a great place. Like everywhere, it has its problems, but we have a strong local economy with low unemployment, some of the best schools and colleges in the region, a town centre which has struggled but we are developing, and we have the plans and finally the means to address our historic transport problems.

However, on an issue so big as Brexit, which threatens to cause untold damage for future generations, I can no longer be in party with a leader that continues to mislead the public.

Yours Sincerely,

Cllr Dan Price