A LONG-serving Swindon councillor is writing a candid account of his life story, which includes housing an IRA supergrass, organising mass strikes and upsetting Neil Kinnock.
Coun Derique Montaut is recounting his journey from growing up amid the decline of the Raj in India to his entry into trade union politics, which led to a career at the town hall.
Coun Montaut (Lab, Liden, Elden & Park South), who has more than 30 years’ experience as a councillor, begins with an unnerving description of a body dangling from a tree in the Madras slums. But his upbringing in a mini-mansion with his father, an army officerwas not an obvious starting point for a boy who would become a militant Marxist.
“The question is who is the real Derique Montaut?,” the veteran activist said.
“I wrote the book for my family so future generations can find out about my life.
“I have documented how I was brought up in a mixed-race dynasty before arriving in this country and becoming involved in militant activities which included commanding mass strikes in one of Britain’s industries.
“I also wanted to remind my family who they are.”
Coun Montaut took a job at the then Pressed Steel car plant in Swindon during the 1960s, becoming boss of the factory’s union and remaining convenor for a quarter of a century.
The former Labour group leader, also tells how he worried for the safety of his family and Swindon residents when, as the council’s chair of housing and health in the 1980s, the town housed an IRA supergrass for the RUC.
Coun Montaut was made to swear a vow of secrecy but details of the arrangement later appeared in a national newspaper under the title: “Thamesdown – a safe place for supergrasses.”
Coun Montaut also tells how Neil Kinnock beat a diplomatic retreat on a visit to the Oasis Leisure Centre when he lectured the then Labour leader on his failings.