Party suspends councillors for rejecting pay rise

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Indy Politics

Eight Labour councillors in Cardiff have been suspended by their party after voting against increases in their allowances.

Eight Labour councillors in Cardiff have been suspended by their party after voting against increases in their allowances.

The rebels had protested at rises that made Russell Goodway, the Lord Mayor of Cardiff and leader of the city's Labour-controlled council, the highest paid councillor in Britain on £58,500 a year for a three-day week. At a disciplinary hearing behind closed doors that ended at 2am yesterday, the councillors had the Labour whipwithdrawn.

One of the eight, David Sharpe, suspended for three months, said he was "completely baffled" by the decision. "Obviously I am disappointed," he said. "But I still think I did the right thing." The councillors maintained they only refused to back the allowances after sounding out the views of residents in the city.

The total cost of the increases will be £1m, at a time when the council is making budget cuts of £2m. Anger over the rises deepened when the Lord Mayor announced he would receive a further £30,000 because the increases were backdated to last May. The council was restructured last year to include a "cabinet" system of senior councillors, and an independent commission was set up to look at pay.

Before the disciplinary hearing was held, two Cardiff Labour MPs, Julie Morgan and Jon Owen Jones, had urged the council's Labour group not to discipline the dissidents. Mrs Morgan said she was disappointed by the decision. "These councillors stuck up for what their constituents thought about the issue. I know that the public have been very disturbed by it."

The rebel eight have said they will appeal against the suspensions to the Labour Party's Welsh executive.

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