Express & Star

Town's Labour party denies claims it wants to 'drop Father Christmas' from festivities

A local branch of the Labour Party has denied claims it is trying to "drop Father Christmas" or "remove Christ from Christmas" at a town's festive celebrations.


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A row erupted last week after members of the Labour Party at Newport Town Council raised concerns about the use about some of the practices at the town's Christmas switch on.

This led to accusations that the Labour group were attempting to erase Christian themes and traditions from the annual festive celebrations.

One letter writer in the local Newport Advertiser, wrote: "The town councillors at Newport Town Council wish the event to drop the reindeers, Father Christmas, and every other aspect of the Christian theme."

The idea has been rubbished by the Newport Labour Group.

Father Christmas in Newport (picture: I & L Photography)

A spokesman for the party said: "Labour Councillors did not express any wish to remove Christ from Christmas, nor to 'drop Father Christmas'.

"Two Labour Councillors simply raised an objection to the use of live reindeers for entertainment purposes. Several other Councils have stopped this practice in response to concerns over animal welfare.

"The Royal Veterinary College have themselves expressed concern over the health of reindeer living in the UK*. As a committee we discussed some alternative suggestions, such as human street entertainers and animatronics, but these were not thought suitable following a democratic vote.

"As citizens of a democratic country, we must never be afraid to stand up and say what we think. It is regrettable that this can sometimes lead to being misquoted and vilified. Cowardly actions such as writing this disingenuous letter, which was designed to deliberately stir up mistrust and division, will not stop us from standing up for residents across Newport."