The deputy mayor of Redcar and Cleveland Council is the latest to resign from the Labour party after a week of turmoil at the authority.
Ten Labour councillors resigned their membership last week after council leader George Dunning, deputy Sheelagh Clarke and members of the authority’s cabinet were told by Labour that they had not been selected to stand again for their party in May’s elections.
Now Doreen Rudland, who represents the Brotton ward, has confirmed she is the 11th current councillor to leave the party.
She said: “I think it is disgraceful what has happened to those councillors who were deselected by the party.
“Ten councillors resigned last week – and I am supporting them.”
Cllr Rudland, 77, is the authority’s deputy mayor and was elected at a by-election in Brotton more than four years ago.
She confirmed that she was not planning on standing in the May elections.
“I had already taken that decision, I did not want to stand because of my age.
“I have enjoyed being a councillor, and I have particularly enjoyed my time as deputy mayor.”
On Sunday, the Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Constituency Labour Party selected its candidates to stand in May’s election.
Current Labour cabinet members Joan Guy and Helen McLuckie were selected to stand again in their Saltburn and Skelton wards, the local party confirmed.
The ten councillors who resigned from the party at a protest outside Milbank Terrace office of Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley last week were: George Dunning (Teesville), Sheelagh Clarke (Teesville) Steve Goldswain (Eston), Olwyn Peters (Eston), Norman Pickthall (Teesville), Mark Hannon (Kirkleatham), Vic Jeffries (Marske), Brian Briggs (Skelton), Carole Simms (Normanby) and Wendy Wall (Normanby).
A vote of no confidence in leader George Dunning has been tabled by the council’s Liberal Democrat group for Thursday’s meeting of the full council.
In the wake of the row, Councillors Steve Goldswain and Olwyn Peters spoke out about alleged bullying in the local party, while the chairman of the Redcar constituency party Neil Bendelow confirmed that Cllr Vic Jeffries had made a formal complaint about bullying.
Cllr Dunning said that the resignations came after a long-running internal dispute in the Labour Party between council leadership, and the offices of Ms Turley and Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Tom Blenkinsop.
After Councillors Dunning, Clarke, Hannon and Jeffries joined Steve Goldswain, Brian Briggs and Norman Pickthall in being deselcted by the party, Mr Blenkinsop said that “he wasn’t part of the selection process”.
Ms Turley said in a statement:
“I am sad that the councillors and members who didn’t get selected don’t feel they can continue to be part of the Labour movement without being paid councillors, but the party cannot be held to ransom.
“There were simply other candidates who won their elections and they deserve their opportunity to serve their local communities.”
In response to Mrs Rudland’s announcement, Labour repeated its statement made in the wake of the other resignations that it was “disappointing but unsurprising”.
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 09 Feb 2015
The Darlington Liberation Army (DLA) has launched a petition demanding the immediate resignation of a council leader and his cabinet.
The group is calling for a vote of no confidence in council leader Bill Dixon and his fellow councillors, claiming Darlington Borough Council is turning the town centre into a “ghost town”.
The DLA was established earlier this year in the wake of conflict between town centre traders and Darlington Borough Council over car parking policies.
It aims to act as a channel for frustrated residents and traders to voice their opinions on the council and its policies.
The group counts among its supporters local florist Rob Metcalfe, who has a copy of the petition available to sign at his shop, Claire Metcalfe Florists, on Bondgate.
Accusing Darlington Borough Council of “serious failings” it says:
“We would like to declare a vote of no confidence in William Dixon and all of the other Cabinet members.
“We ask that as a result of their serious failings they all resign from their positions as council leader and cabinet members respectively, with immediate effect.
“By signing this petition we express that we no longer have any confidence in the leader and the cabinet and request that they stand down now.”
“Their decision making appears to be professionally skewed and has ulterior motive/s and as such they are turning the town centre into a ghost town not only for shoppers but retailers…”
According to Darlington Borough Council’s website, any petition containing more than 1,000 signatures will be debated by the cabinet at the next possible meeting.
The petition organiser will be given five minutes to present it at the meeting and the petition will then be discussed by members of the cabinet who will decide how to respond to issues raised.
He added: “I will make sure that happens.”
Asked if he was considering his position in the light of the petition he replied: “Definitely not. That’s a matter for the electorate.“
Source – Northern Echo, 05 Nov 2014