Lib Dems accused of "gerrymandering" as ward boundary changes in Darlington are agreed

Darlington and Stockton Times: Darlington Council Leader Bill Dixon accused the Lib Dems of gerrymandering Darlington Council Leader Bill Dixon accused the Lib Dems of gerrymandering

THE LIBDEMS were accused of "inept gerrymandering" at a heated meeting to decide ward boundaries in Darlington.

In September, the Local Government Boundary Commission asked Darlington Borough Council to submit proposals for new ward boundaries with a view to cutting the number of councillors from 53 to 50 and ensuring that each represents roughly the same number of voters.

Ahead of Wednesday night’s meeting, Labour and the Conservatives worked together for weeks to prepare a map setting out proposals for the changed boundaries.

However, just 24 hours before the meeting, the Liberal Democrats submitted their own map for consideration.

Councillor Joe Kelley claimed the party were forced to draw up their own proposals as they were not invited to join Labour and the Tories.

He said their late response was in part due to him not being fully aware of protocol, adding: “This is an alternative and If we don’t offer it, there is no alternative.

“This is supposed to be the people’s choice, not just for those in power to keep a status quo.”

Tempers flared at the late submission, with councillors complaining there had not been enough time to properly consider the amended plans.

Council leader Bill Dixon accused the Lib Dems of making changes to save the seat they will lose if the LabCon map is accepted by the Boundary Commission.

He said: “You cry foul that you were not invited to the party by the big boys.

“You weren’t invited because we didn’t see the point in talking to you because you are not capable of doing the maths.

“Your map is the worst case of inept gerrymandering I have seen in 30 years of politics, your wards are drawn to save one seat in North Road.

“It is like theft in a multi-storey carpark – wrong on so many levels.”

The plans were branded the "last-minute homework" of a schoolchild by Coun Steve Harker, who described them as flawed and would face rejection for not following guidance from the Boundary Commission.

Councillors voted to approve the proposals from Labour and the Conservatives, which will see the number of councillors in Darlington reduced to 50.

Full details of boundary changes will be in tomorrow’s Northern Echo.

Comments (12)

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5:03pm Thu 12 Dec 13

harry2 says...

Sheffield has only 28 ward councils how on earth do they justify 50 it's reduculous ,?
Sheffield has only 28 ward councils how on earth do they justify 50 it's reduculous ,? harry2

5:20pm Thu 12 Dec 13

JJ2000 says...

"You weren’t invited because we didn’t see the point in talking to you because you are not capable of doing the maths."

Say what?

A car park that has increased by £1m (so far)

Budget cuts for all, yet find £1.8m for developing Gypsy sites - a ghost population who contribute little socially or economically to the town.

An approval of Bid who maintain their existence by extorting money from local businesses, yet have no business plan or evidence that they have improved the condition of its financiers.

People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
Or work at the town hall.
"You weren’t invited because we didn’t see the point in talking to you because you are not capable of doing the maths." Say what? A car park that has increased by £1m (so far) Budget cuts for all, yet find £1.8m for developing Gypsy sites - a ghost population who contribute little socially or economically to the town. An approval of Bid who maintain their existence by extorting money from local businesses, yet have no business plan or evidence that they have improved the condition of its financiers. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Or work at the town hall. JJ2000

7:05pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Alan Macnab says...

The Liberal Democrat Group on Darlington Borough Council consists of 5 democratically elected Councillors. The Liberal Democrat Group representatives participated in the cross party discussions on the number of ward councillors but our representatives were excluded by the Labour and Conservative leadership when ward boundaries were discussed. The Liberal Democrat Group were not even invited to the meetings. That is a fact. The behaviour of the leadership of the Labour and Conservative Groups is reprehensible. . How dare Councillor Dixon say 'you weren’t invited because we didn’t see the point in talking to you because you are not capable of doing the maths." How dare he say that. The Liberal Democrat Group consists of very experienced and qualified professional people. I will treat Councillor Dixon's comments with the contempt they deserve.
The Liberal Democrat Group on Darlington Borough Council consists of 5 democratically elected Councillors. The Liberal Democrat Group representatives participated in the cross party discussions on the number of ward councillors but our representatives were excluded by the Labour and Conservative leadership when ward boundaries were discussed. The Liberal Democrat Group were not even invited to the meetings. That is a fact. The behaviour of the leadership of the Labour and Conservative Groups is reprehensible. . How dare Councillor Dixon say 'you weren’t invited because we didn’t see the point in talking to you because you are not capable of doing the maths." How dare he say that. The Liberal Democrat Group consists of very experienced and qualified professional people. I will treat Councillor Dixon's comments with the contempt they deserve. Alan Macnab

7:13pm Thu 12 Dec 13

oliviaden6 says...

The PLOT thickens if you can't or suspect you might not get the deal done stir up a little dirt or smear someone, will this ruling council stop at nothing. Bill and his Buddies are above contempt?
The PLOT thickens if you can't or suspect you might not get the deal done stir up a little dirt or smear someone, will this ruling council stop at nothing. Bill and his Buddies are above contempt? oliviaden6

7:42pm Thu 12 Dec 13

judygone says...

Bill dixon`s comments just prove what an arrogant man he is. This man should not be running our town.
Bill dixon`s comments just prove what an arrogant man he is. This man should not be running our town. judygone

7:56pm Thu 12 Dec 13

NOTODDEN says...

These are the people who run things in this town - depressing
These are the people who run things in this town - depressing NOTODDEN

8:36pm Thu 12 Dec 13

harry2 says...

“It is like theft in a multi-storey carpark – wrong on so many levels.”


That has to be the best quote I've seen for a while the amount this currant council actually charges for parking
“It is like theft in a multi-storey carpark – wrong on so many levels.” That has to be the best quote I've seen for a while the amount this currant council actually charges for parking harry2

9:43pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Mike B. says...

It seems clear that it is Burglar Bill and Hijack Heather who are the gerrymanderers, carving up the town to eliminate North Road ward in the hope of getting rid of Lib Dem representation on the Council. Very cosy for the big boys and girls.
It seems clear that it is Burglar Bill and Hijack Heather who are the gerrymanderers, carving up the town to eliminate North Road ward in the hope of getting rid of Lib Dem representation on the Council. Very cosy for the big boys and girls. Mike B.

10:37am Fri 13 Dec 13

GeraldD says...

“You weren’t invited because we didn’t see the point in talking to you because you are not capable of doing the maths."

What a rude, unpleasant and arrogant man we have running our town. It's a shame people vote so thoughtlessly along party lines and keep re-electing people like this.
“You weren’t invited because we didn’t see the point in talking to you because you are not capable of doing the maths." What a rude, unpleasant and arrogant man we have running our town. It's a shame people vote so thoughtlessly along party lines and keep re-electing people like this. GeraldD

6:52pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Luther95 says...

Mike B. wrote:
It seems clear that it is Burglar Bill and Hijack Heather who are the gerrymanderers, carving up the town to eliminate North Road ward in the hope of getting rid of Lib Dem representation on the Council. Very cosy for the big boys and girls.
Political parties patently shouldn't use boundary reviews as a cover to advance their own interests. And a quick look at the map for the proposed boundaries http://www.darlingto
n.gov.uk/PublicMinut
es/Council/December%
2011%202013/Revised%
20Urban%20Wards.jpg.
pdf shows that there will still be a North Road ward map, albeit reduced from 3 seats to 2.

Is that what these Lib Dem histrionics are all about, Mike - that there will be one fewer Lib Dem councillor after 2015?

I'd have more time for the Lib Dems if they published the map of their suggestions on their local party website, and then the public could make up their own minds - but after checking tonight there's nothing about this issue there. What have Darlington Lib Dems got to hide?
[quote][p][bold]Mike B.[/bold] wrote: It seems clear that it is Burglar Bill and Hijack Heather who are the gerrymanderers, carving up the town to eliminate North Road ward in the hope of getting rid of Lib Dem representation on the Council. Very cosy for the big boys and girls.[/p][/quote]Political parties patently shouldn't use boundary reviews as a cover to advance their own interests. And a quick look at the map for the proposed boundaries http://www.darlingto n.gov.uk/PublicMinut es/Council/December% 2011%202013/Revised% 20Urban%20Wards.jpg. pdf shows that there will still be a North Road ward map, albeit reduced from 3 seats to 2. Is that what these Lib Dem histrionics are all about, Mike - that there will be one fewer Lib Dem councillor after 2015? I'd have more time for the Lib Dems if they published the map of their suggestions on their local party website, and then the public could make up their own minds - but after checking tonight there's nothing about this issue there. What have Darlington Lib Dems got to hide? Luther95

7:40pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Alan Macnab says...

Luther 95 I will arrange for it to be put on the website. I hope this helps.
Luther 95 I will arrange for it to be put on the website. I hope this helps. Alan Macnab

10:20am Sat 14 Dec 13

Luther95 says...

Thank you.
Thank you. Luther95

Comments are closed on this article.

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