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Division has cost the Labour Party council seats in Sheffield’s student areas

Broomhill, Crookes and City wards all elected non-Labour councillors

Last Thursday, students turned out in Broomhill and Sharrow Vale, City ward and Crookes for the Sheffield local elections to send the message that the division in and around the Labour Party has gone too far.

Labour took a blow in Sheffield with Green Party candidates elected in the Broomhill and City wards, as well as a Liberal Democrat in Crookes, with students sending a clear message that enough is enough.

One reason for patience with Labour wearing thin appears to be the party's troubles with anti-Semitism, which have been exposed over the last few months. Nationally, The Labour Party has been engulfed in several anti-Semitism scandals and has failed to deal with concerns raised by Jewish communities, with the national Board of Jewish Deputies recently described a meeting with Jeremy Corbyn as a “disappointing missed opportunity”.

Anti-Semitism in Labour has not only been a national issue, but a local one also. In March, a Sheffield Labour branch secretary was suspended for a social media post which photoshopped the infamous words from the entrance of the Auschwitz entrance “arbeit macht frei” (work sets you free) onto a Job Centre sign.

It is against this backdrop that students seem to have turned away from Labour, instead electing Green and Lib Dem councillors in their local areas. The Conservative Party also increased their vote share in a number of seats, however it never looked likely that they would take any of the Sheffield seats.

Many students have also been put off by the Labour council’s handling both leading up to and the ongoing “ecological vandalism” taking place with the cutting down of Sheffield’s trees.

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The trees are being cut down due to the “Streets Ahead” PFI contract that Sheffield City Council entered into with Amey PLC. This contract was finalised and signed by the Labour Council in 2012, and runs until 2037, with an expected cost of £2.2 billion over its course.

Whichever way you look at it, last Thursday the students of Sheffield struck a blow to Labour. It's time that, both locally and nationally, the party addressed the division before it costs them any more votes.