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Friday, 23 June 2017

Council TOTALLY Caves In to Our Sprinkler Campaign – But Questions Remain

Leader of Southampton Independents Denise Wyatt

Leader of Southampton Independents, Denise Wyatt, makes the following announcement on behalf of Southampton Independents and local residents who campaigned with us:

"Working with local residents, Southampton Independents has TOTALLY won! 

Southampton Independents are delighted that after months of campaigning (see elsewhere on this website) we have a statement from the Council that sprinklers will be installed in ALL Southampton Council tower blocks. 

Southampton Independents welcomes the news that the Council has listened.

But questions remain on WHEN will sprinklers be installed and when funding will be clear for ALL high rise blocks in the City, not just a small number.

The Council don't know where the funding is coming from, for the vast majority of tower blocks.

We don’t want Labour Council spin, we want details of when and how. Things are still unclear.

There is no justification for Southampton City Council as Landlords to deny residents the maximum safety.

Southampton Independents will continue our campaign until ALL sprinklers have actually been INSTALLED and are WORKING in ALL Council-owned tower blocks in Southampton."

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Sprinklers: Questions the Council Need to Answer - NOW!

Redbridge Towers
After the Redbridge Towers, Shirley Towers and now Grenfell Tower fires, Southampton City Council need to urgently answer the questions below in the bottom of this post.

Southampton Independents Councillor Andrew Pope has today asked these questions to the Labour Leader of the Council, Councillor Simon Letts, copying in Cabinet Member for Housing Councillor Warwick Payne.

Councillor Pope on ITV Meridian News
holding Southampton City Council to account

Let's not forget that as recently as April 2017, Councillor Payne dismissed residents' concerns about the lack of sprinklers, which was shortly after the Redbridge Towers fire. Councillor Payne said residents didn't want sprinklers! What a liar! Residents DO want sprinklers. He also said there isn't enough money! That is also untrue. 

Councillor Payne needs to go, or to be sacked by the Leader of the Council.

If you want to see what Councillor Payne looks like, he's the one in the second row from the bottom, holding both his hands up, in the below photo. Is it because he is doubly guilty of putting the public at risk by his lies? You may think that, but Southampton Independents couldn't possibly comment! Here are his contact detailsAsk him why he has failed to protect residents in high-rise blocks.

The Labour Group of Councillors - Yes, Guilty
The Councillor behind him is Labour Councillor Sharon Mintoff. She is paid an allowance to stand up for the safety of Southampton residents on the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority - councillors which are supposed to hold the Fire Service to account. When Councillor Pope asked her to tell him what she had done to promote sprinklers - she declined to respond - twice in writing and once in person. Here are her contact details - ask her why she did nothing!

It is therefore fair to say that Councillor Mintoff did nothing to promote fire safety in high-rise blocks.

Perhaps with the massive response to Southampton Independents supporter Tracy Cutler's petition, with over 65,000 signatures since it was created yesterday, Councillor Payne might now change his mind that residents don't want sprinklers? The petition is embedded on our page here. If you haven't signed Tracy's vital petition, please do so and share it widely.

And now perhaps Southampton City Council will change its mind, and fit sprinklers to ALL Southampton high-rise blocks?

We will see, when we get the answers that Southampton residents deserve.

The Chief Fire Officer of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, Dave Curry, is still yet to answer the questions we have asked for months now, and asked again.

Firefighters put their lives on the line, but they shouldn't have to if the Council and Fire Service managers like him are doing their jobs properly.

What does Chief Curry and Southampton City Council have to hide?

They must both be held to account. Help Southampton Independents to do that by asking the same questions of the Leader of the Council. Here are his contact details. Thank you.

This is a matter of public safety.


E-mail follows;

Dear Councillor Letts,

When you were on BBC Radio Solent this morning, responding to the Southampton Independents campaign with residents for sprinklers in all high rise blocks, you appeared to indicate that money would be allocated for Redbridge and Millbrook Towers.

1. What is this money?

2. What is it for?

3. Where is it coming from?

4. When will the works be done?

5. What will the works entail?

When I asked Cllr Payne in April about sprinklers, he dismissed the idea completely. He said residents didn't want sprinklers. He also said there wasn't the money.

For your information, one of Southampton Independents' supporters T Cutler has created a petition on the topic yesterday. It currently has almost 20,000 supporters and is growing rapidly.

6. Cllr Payne - do you still maintain that residents don't want sprinklers?

7. Why has not a single sprinkler been installed for SEVEN YEARS after the Shirley Towers tragedy, and over TWO YEARS after it was decided to do the 3 blocks? The Council statement sent yesterday confirms this.

8. And finally, I will give you both one last chance - will you commit to installing sprinklers in ALL of Southampton's high rise blocks, and by when?

Sign the Petition: We Are STILL Campaigning for Sprinklers - Are you?

The fire damaged Redbridge Towers
The Grenfell Tower tragedy in London has brought attention in Southampton back to fire safety in our City, and the Shirley Towers tragedy in 2010 where two firefighters were killed.

After the Redbridge Towers Fire in April this year, we listened to residents who wanted sprinklers installed. It is accepted that sprinklers save lives, and would likely have stopped the loss of lives at Shirley Towers.

Here is some of the work that we did with residents.

We listened to you and stood up for you. We worked with you to generate the headlines in the Daily Echo and spoke up for you on ITV Meridian News.

Councillor Andrew Pope standing up for you in the Daily Echo
Daily Echo back in April 2017
Councillor Pope on ITV Meridian outside Redbridge Towers

Back in April, Southampton Independents Councillor Andrew Pope requested Southampton City Council to install sprinklers.

You can see the disgraceful responses from Labour Councillor for Housing Warwick Payne here. He dismissed residents concerns.

Do you agree that Warwick Payne should resign or be sacked?

After the Grenfell Tower tragedy, and thinking of the safety of Southampton residents, Councillor Pope has been standing up for you and putting pressure on Southampton City Council and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service by speaking on BBC Radio Solent yesterday and today, being quoted in the Daily Echo today and Andrew will be appearing on Wave 105 radio later today.

The Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service policy is that sprinklers should be installed in high-rise blocks. Here is a section from the policy:

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Sprinkler Policy

The Council have tried to make out they have taken adequate steps on safety. Residents are not reassured. One resident, a former employee of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, contacted us this morning to say:
"I have just had a letter in last few minutes from Council, reference the fire in London and what the council are doing re ECU improvement works (cladding). They intend to do all blocks and assure us the materials they are using are naturally fire resistant, but there is they say following London fire, nothing at all to suggest the system is unsafe in any way. How they can say that before there has been a full investigation I don't Know!"
Another resident has contacted us to say:

"I think it's the same tripe they put out after every incident"

As Councillor Pope told BBC Radio Solent yesterday, residents are NOT reassured.

We work to expose failures and cover-ups. And Redbridge Towers is another one.

Why do we do this? We put pressure on those who have failed to protect you. Why?

Because Southampton Independents listen to you.

Southampton Independents work for you.

Southampton Independents stand up for you.

One of our supporters has created a petition to change the law to improve fire safety. She lost a friend in the Lakanal disaster in London in 2009. Why does the law need to be changed? Because it can't be left to councils like Southampton City Council, when they ignore residents like Warwick Payne did. Please sign and share this petition widely. If it doesn't appear below, please click this link.

Like our Facebook page "Southampton Independents" for updates, follow our Twitter feed @SotonIndies and keep coming back to our website.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

UPDATED: Is Tory Candidate Paul Holmes Really "Local"?

Tory Candidate Paul Holmes Pretending He is Local
UPDATED (14th June 2017): We have passed more information to the Police and are awaiting an update from their investigation.


No, he isn't. He is pretending.

Paul Holmes got selected for the seat, and is now pretending that he has been here for years.

He hasn't.

We have been speaking of "The Cons" by "The Cons" Party and the terrible Theresa May.

The day before polling day, we now turn our attention to the Tory candidate for Southampton Test, Paul Holmes.

The previous candidate for the past two elections was Jeremy Moulton. He was overlooked in favour of Paul Holmes. Why was this?

Was it because Jeremy Moulton lost twice to Alan Whitehead, in 2010 and by a bigger margin in 2015?

Was it because Jeremy Moulton, also Leader of the Conservative Group on the City Council, failed to lead the Conservatives to control the Council, despite Labour being in disarray?

Perhaps it was.

Or was it because Jeremy Moulton was not enough of a "yes man" for the Conservatives, and that as a political careerist working for the Tory Party Chairman Patrick McLoughlin, Paul Holmes was suitably malleable to be a "yes man" for Theresa May, as shown on the leaflet above.

Perhaps we shall never know for sure, as these are Conservative Party decisions.

A political careerist is someone who has politics as their career, and has never had a job outside politics.

The Labour Party and Conservative Party are full of them.

It appears that Paul Holmes has all the hallmarks of a political careerist. Careerists will do anything for their political career.

For example, they will produce tens of thousands of letters like the one above, desperately trying to persuade local residents that they are local and understand the local issues.

But how can Paul Holmes claim this, when he has been living and working in London?

And what about the attempts by Paul Holmes and the Tory Party to show he is local and to get him elected as Theresa May's man in Southampton?

Is Mr Holmes trying to con the people of Southampton into thinking he lives at the below address in Southampton, and lived there before he was selected as the Tory Candidate?

The address below is taken from the "Statement of Persons Nominated" issued by Southampton City Council.

Southampton Independents understands that Paul Holmes lived and worked in London, for the Conservative Party including the Party Chairman McLoughlin, and not in Southampton.

Mr Holmes did stand for Parliament. But for a London constituency in 2015, not Southampton.

Mr Holmes has taken this opportunity to try to cleanse his image as a Sotonian. Except it doesn't appear that he grew up in Southampton.

Paul Holmes studied at Southampton University and was a councillor for four years, but then left Southampton, to further his political career. That is the decision of a political careerist.

It appears that he hasn't been a Sotonian for many years.

His political opponent Andrew Pope has tried to get him to answer questions, but Mr Holmes has repeatedly evaded answering them.

Is Paul Holmes emulating Paul Nuttall of UKIP in the Stoke Central by-election?

When did he start living at this address?

If you look at the electoral register for Romsey and Southampton North, you can see that he is a late addition to the register.

Whose address is it really?

We have confirmed that it is the address of a former Southampton City Councillor. It must be some kind of favour, to help Mr Holmes cleanse his image and continue the pretense that he had been living in Southampton, prior to his selection as candidate.

Has he lied on his nomination papers?

We will see. That is a matter for the Police.

We have contacted local journalists and we hope they will do their duty in the public interest.

We will be passing information to the Police and asking for them to investigate.

And we ask Southampton residents to ask the same questions, BEFORE they cast their vote on Thursday 8th June, or on their postal ballot papers beforehand.

Do you trust Paul Holmes? Do you trust the Conservatives? Do you trust Labour?

Labour or Tory - it's a choice between potential disaster and proven failure. And Alan Whitehead has been a failure as your MP for 20 years. People know it's time for him to go.

We ask you to consider voting for Andrew Pope Southampton Independents, because he lives in the community, we are genuine and we are about the local area.

Have You Had One? What Do You Think? VOTE POPE!

If you live in the Southampton Test Constituency, you should have had one of these leaflets from us.

Front Page

The Southampton Test Constituency covers most of the Western part of the City between the River Test and River Itchen. It includes the Southampton City Council wards of Coxford, Bevois, Millbrook, Redbridge, Portswood, Shirley and Freemantle.

If you haven't, it might be because the Royal Mail have failed to deliver it. We have already raised a complaint with them about these not being delivered in time. They are obliged by law to deliver this to every household in the constituency.

Or you might have lost our leaflet amongst the millions being sent out by Labour and the Tories with their mega-millions.

Or you might not live in the Southampton Test Constituency. You can check here by putting your postcode in.

People tell us they like our leaflet and that it isn't like the others. What do you think of it?

Second Page

Third Page

Back Page

Monday, 5 June 2017

Southampton residents say: "This General Election is One Big Tory Con"

Theresa May trying to tell you what the election is about

Andrew Pope, the Southampton Independents Candidate for Southampton Test, says:

Andrew Pope with one of our supporters' boards and posters in Coxford

"Do you share our annoyance at Theresa May trying to tell you 'What This Election is About'?

Do you agree that the people of our City decide what this election is about?

And that it should not be dictated to us by Theresa May from her party-political pulpit in Downing Street?

We think you will agree, because the people of Southampton are smart.

They know the real reasons Theresa May called the 2017 General Election, when she repeatedly said she wouldn't call one.

  1. As Home Secretary for SIX YEARS, Theresa May failed to deliver anything but cuts when Home Secretary. For example, to the Police whose numbers were reduced by around 20,000.
  2. Theresa May is weak. She is anything but "strong and stable". As one resident said, when challenged Theresa May is "shrill and squeamish." That is why the Tories are spending so much time and money trying to persuade the British people that she is strong. 
  3. On the above leaflet, Theresa May claimed "What This Election Is About" is the national interest. It is not, this Election has been called in the party political interest of the Conservative Party, and the personal political career of Theresa May.
  4. Theresa May saw an opportunity to get her way with a massive opinion poll lead over Jeremy Corbyn's Labour. But Theresa May cannot control her own MPs or members of her own Cabinet like Boris Johnson who want to see her fail in order to become Prime Minister himself.

Theresa May thought she could deal with those Tory MPs who are out to get her, and who are out to block what she wants to do. She has tried to replace those former MPs and candidates for Parliament with "yes men" (and in the Tory Party, some "yes women").

This includes the Southampton Test Tory Candidate, Paul Holmes, who is a political careerist and is willing to be a puppet for Theresa May. We will be publishing more on him shortly.

All the while, Theresa May has been trying to blame the Opposition. This itself is laughable because Corbyn's Labour is in disarray - just look at Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott's mistakes and Corbyn's failure to convince the British people that he can protect us.

Theresa May has failed as Prime Minister over the last year. She has also squandered a massive 20-point opinion poll lead over Labour. That is a spectacular failure of leadership.

This is why we predict that if she becomes Prime Minister again, Theresa May will fail to get a good Brexit that works for everyone.

And then we could well have another General Election, when the EU Brexit deal doesn't meet what the people of Southampton voted for.

Why vote Labour or Tory, and get the same old story?

This General Election is One Big Tory Con.

Stop wasting your vote on Labour and the Tories, and Vote Southampton Independents!"

Andrew Pope Listens to You and Stands Up for You

Southampton Independents are about properly listening to you, your family and your area - not the same old story with Labour or Tory.

That's why Andrew Pope is standing to be your Southampton Independents MP for Southampton Test (West of the City).

As Southampton residents Mr and Mrs Taylor say on our leaflet:

"Andrew listens to YOU. Andrew works for YOU. Andrew stands up for YOU.

Vote for Andrew Pope Southampton Independents for Southampton Test in the 2017 General Election."

Clare from Coxford (pictured above) says:

"If you want an MP that gets things done, vote for Andrew Pope to be the next MP for Southampton Test."

Kirsty from Redbridge, who doesn't normally vote, says:

"Andrew sorted out the issues we had and has kept in touch making sure things are still going how they should do. 
He managed to do what Southampton city council failed to do in 18 months.  
He also helped my disabled neighbour finally get a move into a more suitable place for her needs.  
Every issue myself and others have raised regrading our area Andrew has looked into and taken higher to get the answers people in the area need.  
100% he is getting my vote as unlike some he will do as much if elected as he does now and not lose the effort because he has his feet under the table."

Denise Wyatt, Southampton Independents campaigner, says:

"Why do local residents have so many of our pink 'Vote Andrew Pope Southampton Independents' boards and posters up around Southampton? 
Because we work hard for people all year round, not just at election time. 
Soton Indies live in the community. We are part of the community. 
People tell us that Labour and Tories only come round at election time to get your votes. 
People know that we are working with them all year round. 
Please vote Andrew Pope Southampton Independents to be your next MP."

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Labour Council Cuts Bins and Charges You More!

Council bins will fill and weeds are uncut
Next week, Labour-run Southampton City Council will be changing to fortnightly bin collections.

Your main waste bin will not be collected every week. It will be every fortnight. The recycling collection will be every fortnight.

Andrew Pope, our Candidate in the General Election to be the next MP for Southampton Test (West), is a Councillor for Redbridge ward on Southampton City Council.

Councillor Pope stood up for you against the Labour Council and voted against the fortnightly bins.

Andrew Pope
Andrew says:
"Labour councillors' leaflets said that they would 'keep weekly bin collections'. 
But in February 2017, ALL Labour councillors VOTED FOR FORTNIGHTLY BINS. They've broken another promise to add to all of the other promises they've broken. 
And worse, they've put up your Council Tax when giving you a poorer service. 
I listened to residents' views and voted against fortnightly bin collections. Already, we are receiving a huge number of complaints about these changes. People don't want it.
Your Labour MP for 20 years, Alan Whitehead, stayed silent despite his Labour colleagues breaking their promises. This week, he has stated on BBC Radio Solent that he supports the fortnightly bin collections. He puts the Labour Party before the people.
This is another reason why Southampton residents need to vote Mr Whitehead out and replace him with someone who stands up for Southampton residents - me!"

The General Election is on 8th June. Please Vote Andrew Pope Southampton Independents.

Andrew with one of our supporters' boards

Friday, 2 June 2017

BBC South - Biased, Unprofessional and Party Political

The biased and party political Panel
on BBC Radio Solent

5 candidates. 3 chairs. No Andrew Pope Southampton Independents. No proper explanation by the BBC.

Following the outrageous, biased and party political exclusion by BBC South of our Candidate Andrew Pope and Southampton Independents from the BBC Radio Solent Panel debate this morning, Andrew makes the following announcement.

The same was broadcast on BBC Radio Solent at 9am yesterday.

Hello, I’m Andrew Pope, your Southampton Independents Candidate for Southampton Test.

I work for you. I’ve helped Southampton residents all year round, not just at election time.

Sadly, I’ve been excluded by BBC South from participating in today’s debating Panel, with no good reason given.

Southampton Independents have been given just one minute.

Our supporters have challenged our exclusion from today’s Panel by BBC South.

Local media The Daily Echo and ITV Meridian have all included Southampton Independents. And so have the organisers of the hustings.

So why haven’t BBC South? It’s outrageous.

As community campaigners, we campaigned for Brexit. Soton Indies also exposed the failures in the local NHS, the City Council and Southern Electric.

So I now announce our new campaign to expose BBC South, as it has failed to be impartial.

We excel at exposing failures and cover-ups.

I will continue to stand up for you, here and in Westminster.

Please see our Southampton Independents website and our Facebook page for more.

Thank you for listening.

We have complained to Jason Horton, the head of BBC South, who has largely ignored our protests and the evidence we have provided to show "current electoral support" as required in the OFCOM guidelines. For example, there are a lot of "Vote Andrew Pope Southampton Independents" boards, supporters and leaflets displayed by our supporters.

We will be taking further action at this outrage, and campaigning to expose BBC South as biased, unprofessional and party political. 

Denise Wyatt, Southampton Independents campaigner and Andrew's Election Agent says:

"Change is needed at BBC South. We will campaign with residents for that change."