Hull budget rebel: 'No-confidence vote by Labour councillors was punishment'
A LABOUR city councillor who voted against his own group's budget has been removed from chairing a council committee.
Councillor Gary Wareing was one of three Labour rebels to vote against his group's budget at a full meeting of the authority last month.
Now he has lost the chairmanship of the Riverside area committee after Labour councillors moved a no-confidence vote against him.
As well as losing the post, it also means he will lose a £4,700 special responsibility allowance which goes with the position.
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Cllr Wareing said: "After what happened at the budget meeting, I was expecting something like this, so I wasn't too surprised.
"However, I am disappointed the Labour councillors on the committee had a pre-meeting to discuss the no-confidence vote without including me in that meeting.
"I am still in the Labour group and have not been disciplined for the way I voted at the budget meeting.
"In that context, I am unhappy I was excluded from the pre-meeting.
"Since I was re-elected to the council and became chairman of Riverside, I have not missed a meeting and I think I had done a decent job.
"This vote of no-confidence was not about my performance, it was all about punishment."
Cllr Wareing and his fellow rebels Gill Kennett and Dean Kirk have all been interviewed by group officials following the budget vote.
However, none have faced any sanctions until now.
Cllr Wareing said: "The argument I put forward in the interview was that I was entitled to express a view, which I knew was shared by a large number of staff, a large number of Labour Party members and a large section of the people who were in the public gallery.
"I believe the party is big enough to allow a range of views.
"The group seemed to be more upset that I had gone against the whip by speaking out and voting in the way I did than the fact that we were passing a budget that was making 600 people redundant.
"I believe they were looking at things from completely the wrong perspective."
This week's no-confidence vote against Cllr Wareing was moved by former Labour leader Councillor Colin Inglis.
No reason was given before the vote, which was backed by every Labour councillor on the committee except Cllr Wareing and Councillor Alan Clark, who abstained.
Cllr Clark is also Labour's chief whip at the Guildhall.
Opposition Lib Dem leader Councillor Abi Bell said: "While the 'do nothing and hope it all goes away' option that Cllr Wareing is calling for is clearly not a sensible way forward, he has hit the nail on the head in one sense.
"Labour councillors were elected on a 'no cuts, no job losses' platform. Now they're in charge and they're doing exactly what they promised not to do.
"What is most surprising is that more Labour councillors aren't following his lead.
"It's amazing how easily they've U-turned on pretty much every promise they made two years ago."