Margate tenant threatened with eviction over anti Brexit sign to stand as Labour councillor

An offshore windfarm worker who hit the headlines after being threatened with eviction for placing an anti-Brexit banner in his Arlington House flat window is to stand in the May district council elections.

Rob Yates has been selected to represent Labour for Margate Central. The ward is currently represented by long-serving Iris Johnston, who will step down this May. Ian Venables, who was also elected for the ward in 2017, was  disqualified from his councillor role after taking a post with new homelessness team RISE. That disqualification led to a councillor rebellion, refusing to approve a motion to declare the ward vacant in a dispute over whether the action had been fair. The vacancy was finally declared after the third attempt although it was too late to then call a by-election.

Mr Yates, 32, who is Vice Chair of Arlington House Residents Association, says he will focus on two pressing issues – the NHS, which his brother and parents work for, and Brexit.

Here is what Mr Yates wants to tell voters:


This month we are likely to hear confirmation that the QEQM will be losing its stroke services. The fight is not over, but this is now the likely scenario, especially when local MP Sir Roger Gale supports its removal.

Early in 2019 there will be a public consultation involving the option of removing A&E services from the QEQM.

We may be about to have another winter NHS crisis at the QEQM with postponed operations and near 100% bed occupancy rates. This has become a recurring issue under this government.

The Conservative government is set to announce an extra £20bn for the NHS. This may seem like a lot, but in 2015 the government asked the NHS to find £22bn of savings, so bear this in mind.


On the 14th January our two local MP’s will begin to vote on the Conservative Brexit deal. According to the Guardian, one will vote in support and one will vote against! Assuming MP’s don’t change their minds, the government deal will get voted down.

On 11pm on 29th March, the UK will leave the EU with no agreed deal. This means that we would have no formal trading relationship with our nearest trading partners and the world’s largest trading block. One likely consequence (amongst others) of this outcome would be Manston Airport becoming a lorry park for 4,000 HGVs.

The government has already set aside £4.2bn for EU exit planning since 2016 and is making an extra £2bn available for Brexit preparations, whilst telling businesses to prepare for a No-deal outcome.

So what?

The Labour party created the NHS in 1948 and it is the jewel in the crown of the UK. It is the envy of the world with brilliant and hardworking staff. But we are now seeing private A&E departments opening up in the UK. The Labour party introduced NHS targets, such as the four-hour A&E waiting list target and receiving cancer treatment within 62 days of a GP referral. Those are Labour achievements. Unfortunately, these targets are now being routinely missed and hospital staff are told to “do more with less”.

Very few people interested in Brexit (either side of the argument) support the current Conservative Brexit deal. It satisfies neither those who voted to Leave or those who voted to Remain. Being stuck in an EU customs arrangement that we cannot leave without EU permission is not a positive future.

Local election

The district council elections take place on May 2.

Thanet council, which is currently being run by a minority Conservative administration, will have 56 seats up for grabs.

The last council election took place on 7 May 2015 and saw UKIP take majority control with 33 seats. The Conservative Party won 18 seats, the Labour Party won 4 seats, and one Independent was elected.

A tumultuous period saw defections and, in February last year, the resignation of Thanet UKIP leader Chris Wells as head of the council – meaning the end of the country’s only Ukip administration.

Conservatives took the reigns but do not have a majority. Currently the council is composed of 22 Conservative; 14 Independent and UKIP Group; 12 Thanet Independent Councillors Group; 5 Labour and 2 Independents.