The community Wheatsheaf campaign - how the Lib Dems helped


Just before Easter a Conservative minister visited the Wheatsheaf pub at Tooting Bec. He used the occasion to announce new measures to help protect such community assets, inspired by the campaign to save this pub. Here's the report in the Wandsworth Guardian. And you can't mention the Wheatsheaf without the local Labour MP showing up.

But the campaign to save the pub has been led by community activists under no political label. These have included Lib Dems, like Jon Irwin, but people from other parties and none. These are the real heroes. Tooting needs more people like this to take issues up, as local councillors seem uninterested in taking the initiative unless an election is looming. 

'Without the huge show of strength by local people, with the petition I set up, we stood a very real risk of losing the pub. I'm delighted with the outcome, a real show of people power!" says Jon.

Still, we would like to mention that the coalition minister who put in place the Community Asset legislation used by the Wheatsheaf was Liberal Democrat Andrew Stunell. Lib Dems long campaigned for such powers against an indifferent Whitehall. Only by entering government did they have an opportunity to shape something like this. It's a good illustration of the sort of thing parties can do in opposition, but would get lost in any other type of political arrangement, like "confidence and supply".


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