Why CARES did not formally invite Southport’s MP John Pugh to their public meeting at KGV, held on 19th October 2005
CARES was created by bringing together parents and politicians from different parties with the prime aim of reinstating our lost children’s and maternity services. This coalition appeared to work well at first but alongside our movement for full restoration we had the local Champion newspaper, which was campaigning hard for a Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) in the town.
By day, CARES members were reading how our MP John Pugh “fully” supported the Champion’s MIU campaign and by evening we were meeting with him and he was supposedly backing our aims for full restoration of services. This totally conflicted with what he was reported to have said in the Champion. CARES members could not understand Mr Pugh’s motives and when we asked him to clarify; he largely avoided the issue without properly explaining his motives or loyalties.
After the fantastic protest march of August 2003, which saw the town united for one aim, the disintegration started to creep in. Meetings were held with TV crews by some CARES members without telling the others. Some members even held hospital interviews with TV crews present ‘without’ consulting the whole group. Some of the group were supportive of a Minor Injuries Unit and others were not. A divide had occurred and the members who were simply being ‘true’ to the original objective of the campaign, i.e. full restoration of services, were sadly forced to take action as the other members of the group were blatantly diluting the main aims that CARES was created to follow.
Subsequent to this unfortunate turn of events, CARES democratically voted to expel those members (and stand-in members) who were 'not' acting in the best interests of the CARES originally-decided mandate, which was agreed by the residents of Southport.
During the CARES meeting of September 2003 we received a great deal of support from the audience, a visit to parliament (with nearly 20.000 signatures on petitions) was discussed and other campaign tactics were put on the table.
Members from the breakaway group SOS (made up of various Libdem activists & some previously expelled members of CARES) were also in attendance handing out their leaflets. They created some unnecessary disorder along with one or two Libdem activists who sadly failed to behave in an orderly fashion.
Most notably was Libdem activist 'Simon Shaw' who constantly shouted at the audience and committee, failed to let anyone else speak and generally acted in a most disrespectable manner which resulted in his later expulsion from the meeting.
He continued shouting at others whilst in the foyer outside the main hall. This unacceptable conduct was brought to the attention of the press and also reported on local news websites.
Following his expulsion Mr Pugh quickly made local front page news by attacking a CARES member and bringing her private religious beliefs into the scenario. Personal beliefs had no place whatsoever in the campaign and it was extremely wrong of this MP to resort to such tactics in public. Ordinary residents including ones that vote Libdem have expressed concern over this unwarranted and seemingly discriminatory action by John Pugh.
Around this time, Mr Pugh’s assistant and then Vice Chair of the local Liberal Democrats, Tony Dawson, mounted what was to become a lengthy one-man crusade of appalling abuse under the pseudonym of ‘Tonio’ on SGB website forums.
Mr Dawson was later exposed by the Oldham press for writing bizarre things on the SGB website against CARES members. CARES brought all of these matters to the attention of both Mr Pugh and Libdem leader Charles Kennedy yet nothing was apparently done to halt the abuse. The press in Southport have largely avoided on reporting this situation to the public at large.
However, the Labour Party in Oldham produced this sheet about Dawson's activities several years ago.
Later in 2009 Mr Dawson created more embarrassment for his MP, via sending offensive letters to the press. Many called for resignation at this time!
NB. Mr Dawson (Dr Pugh's top aide) is now a Southport councillor and so is Simon Shaw.
These are some of the reasons why CARES did not ask
John Pugh to this particular health concern meeting!