By ‘Returning Officer’
Regular readers will remember that last month we brought to your attention Enid Paylor’s ‘defection’ to the Labour party, shortly after she stood as an Independent candidate (and won a seat) in Newton Aycliffe’s west ward.
Well now it seems the whole debacle is becoming very messy indeed with lots of accusations being flung about (and who says ‘knockabout politics’ is solely the preserve of Westminster?)
Let’s try to make sense of what’s happening, who’s accusing whom etc……..
A group of angry independent councillors have hit out at Labour members who they say accused them of ‘joining forces’ with an extreme right wing party.
Rita Taylor, Sedgefield Labour Party secretary, accused what she called ‘pathetic’ independents ‘with no shame or moral standing’ for joining forces with the BNP in a bid to oust Councillor Paylor.
Feathers have been severely ruffled it seems. Supreme investigative journalists that we are, we decided to dig a little deeper, and this is what we found:
Independent Councillor Irene Hewitson decided to get up a petition calling for Enid Paylor’s resignation. It seems the good Irene decided to allow known BNP member Honest John Hilton to carry her petition on his market stall. (Honest John raises money for charity on his stall, but insists his charity work is separate from his political beliefs).
With us so far? Good.
Aycliffe Independent Billy Blenkinsopp got a bit upset about Rita Taylor’s jibes. He went to the local press saying “These comments by Rita Taylor suggest that every single independent councillor in Newton Aycliffe is working with the BNP, which is simply not true”.
Other independents chimed in, saying that it’s wrong to assume they all ‘work together’. Aycliffe councillor Paul Drucker, while admitting that independents met and that those meetings have a chair and a vice-chair said: “There’s no party line; there’s no whip. Each independent councillor is free to vote and act as they feel”.
Back in the Labour camp, mind you, Rita Taylor is standing by her comments, claiming that in reality the independents do work together. She said: “There are decent and hard working independent councillors who might be upset by the association (with the BNP) – but if they don’t know what is happening among themselves, then it is up to them to resolve it”. Ouch!
Meanwhile, there seems to be nothing but silence from Councillor Enid Paylor. As a fully paid-up member of the Labour Party she’s obviously learning how to duck!
This one could run and run – and Cobblers will keep you posted!