Sisters Uncut: Portsmouth Tories Should ‘Stop and Listen’ to Opponents, Not Smear Them

Following yesterday’s breaking news on S&C of a Tory plan to ‘smear’ opponents to council cuts, local charity Aurora New Dawn and campaign group Sisters Uncut respond.

Hampshire charity Aurora New Dawn revealed today that they are the charity named in Cllr Scott Harris’ email to the entire Conservative administration – including Council Leader, Donna Jones and Lord Mayor Frank Jonas – planning to ‘play dirty’ against critics to cuts to Portsmouth services. The charity confirmed that their CEO, Shonagh Dillon was also one of the individuals Cllr Harris was ‘compiling some stuff on.’

S&C spoke to the CEO of Aurora New Dawn this afternoon, who said:

“Aurora New Dawn believe this is totally unacceptable, but it is up to local residents and the electorate to decide what they think. In the meantime, we are still waiting for a response to our legitimate question about what their strategic funding plans are for victims and survivors of domestic abuse in the city of Portsmouth.”

National campaign group and vocal opponent of the cuts to women’s services across the UK, Sisters Uncut also released a statement on their blog, entitled ‘Tory Smear Campaign: Playing Dirty Tricks With Women’s Lives’ that reads:


“Women are being killed by their partners in Portsmouth, but Councillor Harris clearly does not care. It is disappointing that his priorities lie with political game play and manoeuvring, rather than providing support for women fleeing violence. Instead of discussing with his fellow councillors how to create fully funded, thriving domestic violence services that protect women, he concentrates his energies on planning ways to delegitimise our campaign.

“Nobody likes to be told that they are wrong, but when people are telling you that your decisions are going to put women in danger of abuse and violence, you’d think that Scott Harris, Donna Jones and fellow councillors would stop and listen. Instead, they are doing their best to divert attention from the real issue: heartbreaking rates of domestic violence in Portsmouth, combined with a lack of support for women who want to flee.

“We have zero concerns about Scott Harris, his smear campaign or the dirty politics of Portsmouth City council. Our only concern is that women’s lives will be put at risk from their brutal cuts. Domestic violence services save women’s lives and £180,000 worth of cuts will increase the risk that women already face. It is dangerous and revealing that Conservative councillors in Portsmouth don’t recognise the harm that their cuts will cause. Their priorities lie with political point scoring, smear campaigns and careerism, not women’s lives and safety.”

Star and Crescent will continue to bring you updates on this story as we have them.