Saturday, 27 February 2010

Trouble brewing

This weekend, possibly Monday, a major row between the Conservative and Labour campaign teams in Darlington is expected to hit the pages of the Northern Echo. The Conservative Party's Regional Office has formally complained to Darlington Borough Council about public support being given to Jenny Chapman, the Labour candidate, from within the Council.

I am an outsider looking in, and I haven't seen the offending publication, but I understand that a flyer in support of Jenny was produced using the DBC logo, using DBC equipment, by DBC employees, without the legal imprint, and was circulated to teachers at a training day by the training organisation within the Council. I understand the complaint has caused serious concern right up to Chief Executive level and that the police have been informed that an investigation is taking place within the Council.

Like you, I'll just have to wait for the Echo to hit the streets to get the full unsavoury story.


Anonymous said...

Stop rubbing your knees with glee and wait for the facts

Anonymous said...

Oh Anonymous what are the facts then? No doubt Labour will resort to form and lie their way out of it. It's in their DNA.

james said...

Mike's post is quite restrained, actually, Anonymous 1. And Anonymous 2 will surely be aware that genetic determinism is unscientific...

Jenny Chapman has issued the following via FB: "Tories accused Council staff of producing material supporting of me at Council's expense. Seems 100 cards were made with my picture on saying 'I want to make a difference' at an event highlighting people who went to school here. On it I'm described as the Labour candidate, obviously that was a mistake and I should have been described as a cllr, but I'm sure whoever did the cards didn't intend them to be political."

phil said...

Dear Me Mike,

You don't read that Lib Dem campaign book that was highlighted on nasty lib dems recently do you ?

Thought you were above that sort of thing.

P.s. electorate are not stupid enough for the 'I'm just looking in from the outside' bit, you're either a parliamentary candidate or not surely.

James said...

Tories and Labour arguing over technicalities? Really. Both parties are as bad as each other and can barely string a sentence together which contains an actual policy. Get rid of the lot of them.

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes.....

I think I am qualified to write about what I have read on here. I spent 32 years in local government. There was a clear line during my time in local government between officers who advise and implement policies and manage services which people need and politicians who are there to represent all the people in their wards and govern the Borough in the best interests of all the people, young and old.

At no time during my time in local government was that line crossed. It is a rule that officers give advice and guidance to their political masters and mistresses free of political opinion and influence, they MUST NOT express a political view and they MUST NOT seek to influence the electorate by publishing material which expresses a political opinion. There is legislation which covers this although I cannot put my hand on it at the moment.

What appears to have happened here is that line has been crossed and
political opinion has been expressed by officers.

Mistakes do not just happen. Officers know that they must not make a political statement.

This is a very grave situation indeed. An apology cannot wash away this incident. Firm action must be taken and changes made to ensure that this incident does not ever happen again within Darlington Borough Council.

Anonymous said...

Is the Labour candidate responsible? What's he saying about it?

Mike Barker said...

James, above, has quoted the Labour candidate's position. We'll have to see if she makes a further statement to the Echo tomorrow.
I have no reason to suppose she was implicated in this matter other than being the unexpected recipient of support from officers of the Council which should not have been given and which broke electoral law.
The real questions lie at the door of the Council and why officers allowed the distribution of this literature in contravention of their strict code of political neutrality.
It tells you more about the Council than Jenny.

miketually said...

"Is the Labour candidate responsible? What's he saying about it?"

The Labout candidate might need to put out a few more pictures of herself :)