Socialist Party members ? standing as Socialist Alternative candidates and on behalf of Save Huddersfield?s NHS campaign – scored outstanding successes in the local elections. The election Dr Jackie Grunsell, standing as a Save Huddersfield?s NHS candidate, represents the local government equivalent of the election of the Wyre Valley MP in 2001 who stood against hospital closures in Kidderminster.Jackie received 2,176 votes, a majority of over 700, on a turnout of over 49%.
Jackie?s victory comes in the aftermath of months of campaigning in the Huddersfield and Kirklees area against threatened hospital cutbacks and closures, where two major demonstrations mobilised thousands on the streets.
The campaign also squeezed out the BNP vote in an area where they were otherwise making some headway.
As well as Jackie, three other Socialist Party members were elected as councilors ? Ian Page and Chris Flood in Lewisham Telegraph Hill and Rob Windsor in Coventry St Michael?s.
The Socialist Party now has seven members who are councilors in London, Yorkshire and the West Midlands.
Additionally, many other Socialist Party candidates scored creditable improvements on previous results and saw a consolidation of the party?s support in Coventry and Lewisham.
Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe said today:
?The election of Jackie Grunsell, along with other Socialist Party candidates ? as well as other left-wing and independent campaigners on issues such as the NHS ? is to be welcomed and shows the potential for a new mass workers? party to begin to be established.
?And, I?m sure that the election of Jackie Grunsell, which has come at a crucial time in the battle to defend the NHS for working-class people, will greatly assist in developing national campaign on the NHS which links NHS trade unions and community campaigners in calling for a national strike and demonstration to defend the NHS.