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BBC Wales's Simon Morris reports
"The rebels have 14 days to appeal. Their determination to fight can only deepen divisions in the Cardiff Labour Party"
 real 28k

Suspended Councillor David Sharpe
"Unfortunately I have no insight into their minds and it's on these sorts of occasions that I really wish I did."
 real 28k

Cardiff Councillor Sue Lent
"I think the Wales Labour Party will listen to us"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 15 March, 2000, 09:45 GMT
Cardiff pay-rise rebels fight back
Protesters gather outside Cardiff Council offices
Protesters gather outside Cardiff City Council offices
Cardiff councillors who had the Labour whip removed after opposing a huge pay-rise for their leader are to challenge the decision.

Eight members of Cardiff City Council's Labour group were disciplined after voting against the pay rise given to the leader, Russell Goodway, back in January.

At a meeting on Tuesday afternoon, the rebels decided to raise the issue with the Wales Labour Party.

Mr Goodway's salary has almost doubled to 58,500 per annum for a three-day week. He is now believed to be the UK's highest-paid council leader.

Council leader Russell Goodway
Council leader Russell Goodway gets 58,000
A special meeting of the council's Labour group and the local party executive decided in the early hours of Tuesday that the eight rebel councillors should be disciplined for defying the leadership.

It took more than seven hours to come to the decision that all the rebels would have the whip suspended.

One of those suspended, Riverside councillor David Sharpe, said he was "baffled" by the decision.

"Unfortunately I have no insight into their minds and it's on these sorts of occasions that I really wish I did," he said.

Cardiff North MP Julie Morgan
Cardiff North MP Julie Morgan: "Disappointed"
"I must admit if I was in their position I wouldn't be going around pursuing councillors who stood on a clear issue of conscience on a clear matter of principle."

Councillors Sue Lent (Plasnewydd) and Georgina Phillips (Old St Mellons) said they had voted with their consciences.

They will argue before the Wales Labour Party that a party whip should not have been used on a matter of councillor allowances.

City leader allowances
Leeds City Council, Brian Walker - 22,000
Birmingham City Council, Albert Bore - 22,071
Glasgow City Council, Charles Gordon - 25,092
Manchester City Council, Richard Leese - 40,000

"We should not have been put in a position to break a whip, " said Coun Lent.

"I think the Wales Labour Party will listen to us, we have the support of grass roots members."

Cardiff North MP Julie Morgan said she was disappointed with the outcome of the meeting.

"This has been damaging for the Labour Party in Cardiff," she said.

"I know that the public have been very disturbed by it and I think that these councillors stuck up for what their constituents thought and did bring an element of honour into the debate."

The length of suspension varied from a week for some to three months for others.

Party members loyal to the leadership said the rebels had breached party rules and that they were left with no option.

Others said that the meeting was personal, vicious and damaging to the Labour Party.

The rebels, however, are standing firm. They admit they disobeyed the party line but say that they acted according to their conscience.

The councillors are now expected to appeal to the Welsh Executive of the Labour Party.

An independent report to the National Assembly recommended that council leaders like Mr Goodway should get around 19,000, a third of what he is actually getting.
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