Local Liberal Democrats are backing former teacher Rachel Waitt to be the new Mitcham councillor in Figge’s Marsh Ward at the by-election on 5 May.
One of the sitting Labour councillors dramatically resigned in March, after Labour bosses went ahead with cuts to services like Meals on Wheels and support to carers. This was despite the possibility of protecting £1.3m of the vital funding at no extra cost to residents, with a small levy on Merton’s taxpayers being balanced out by a small Council Tax cut from the London Mayor.
Cllr Peter Walker’s resignation letter to the Labour leader of the Council said:
“To refuse to act to protect some of the most vulnerable members of our community, when you could do so by raising our precept, as allowed by government, is frankly unforgivable.
“Unfortunately through a mixture of your powers of patronage, and your recent threat to expel any Labour members who publicly criticise your policies, you have turned the Labour Group on Merton Council into a cult …”
After receiving the nomination, Rachel said:
“I believe passionately in building a fairer society. Real ‘freedom’ is the ability to live a life that most people take for granted – and these services support many people to lead such lives.
“Labour Party bosses had a choice whether or not to impose these unnecessary cuts. I have seen at first-hand how cuts like these impact people's everyday lives – and so I support Cllr Walker's principled stand.
“This by-election is an opportunity for people to tell local Labour councillors what they think about this betrayal of the values that got them elected.”
- She has lived in South London since 2000 and in Mitcham for 6 years.
- She worked as a primary school teacher in South London for over a decade.
- She lives in Mitcham with her husband and two young children.