Maghull – Town Council by-election – No one seems to want you to know the result!

This is a very odd story. On 18th February there was a by-election for the North Ward of Maghull Town Council. The result has not been published in the local paper (Aintree & Maghull Champion), neither was it on Sefton Council’s web site when I checked yesterday. There’s a page for it on their web site but no result was posted/filled in.

Maghull Town Hall

But what’s really astounding is that the result was not even on the Town Council’s own web site when I looked for it yesterday. Indeed, Maghull Town Council’s site still gave the impression that there’s a vacancy for a councillor in North Ward.

The by-election was caused by the latest in a very long line of Labour councillors throwing in the towel. There’s been so many I have lost count.

The result? Oh yes, Labour won I am told by just a handful of votes against an independent environmental/Green Belt candidate, but I am supposed to know that? Have I been told a state secret I was not supposed to repeat?

You have probably guessed by now that whilst Labour must be sighing a huge relief having been run so close, this is the kind of result they simply don’t want to publicise because it makes them look vulnerable to electoral challenges in Maghull despite, like the neighbouring Borough of Knowsley, them holding every single seat on Maghull Town Council.

I don’t think Labour will be happy about me telling you all this! What a shame. Much scuttling round now one assumes to put web sites to rights.

I told you the comrades were having another set to – Labour resignation No.8!

My posting of 15th May refers:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/05/15/more-trouble-within-sefton-central-labour-party/

Yesterday I received a call from Maghull Town Council telling me that Labour Cllr. John Jarvis had resigned his seat. He had been elected to the Council at one of the many by-elections, which have followed previous Labour resignations, in March 2013. Originally, he had won a seat for the Conservative’s on Melling Parish Council in May 2011 but he resigned that position and stood for Labour in March 2013.

Incredibly, there have now been 8 Maghull Town Council Labour resignations since they snatched control of the Council from the Lib Dems in May 2011. It’s only a 16 member council altogether so half of the Councillors have resigned in just 3 years ago. The present balance of the Council, following this latest resignation, is 10 Labour, 5 Lib Dem and 1 vacancies.

Of the 13 Labour members elected in May 2011 8 have thrown in the towel although this is complicated by the fact that 2 of the newer Labour members who won by-elections, caused by their colleagues resigning, have resigned themselves.

The last 3 resignations of Labour members led to the Lib Dems gaining 2 Labour seats in the July 2013 by-elections.

Can there possibly be another Council in the UK where 50% of the councillors, all from the same ruling political group, have resigned? Answers on a post card to Maghull Town Council, Maghull Town Hall, Hall Lane, Maghull, L31………….

More trouble within Sefton Central Labour Party?

Well it would seem so as one faction is certainly briefing against another and this follows previous blood lettings that led to 7 Labour councillors resigning from Maghull Town Council in recent times.

The two issues now, I am told, surround efforts to deselect a Labour Sefton Councillor (in Molyneux ward?) and for the record is that not the same ward which allegedly passed a motion of no confidence or some such resolution in the Sefton Central Labour Party a while back? The second issue is whether yet another Labour councillor is going to resign. One faction says yes it is going to happen whilst another seems to be of the view that it will not happen.

Whether any of these positions is true or not I can’t tell you but they all emanate from within what seems to be a deeply troubled Sefton Central Labour Party.

Maghull Town Council – Nearly by-elections 8 & 9!

A further two by elections for Maghull Town Council were narrowly-averted when Town Councillors Peter Dowd and Paul Tweed turned out for a Maghull Town Council meeting on 20th November, having not attended a meeting for nearly six months. Had they not done so, Maghull Town Council would have been facing its 8th and 9th by-elections since the 16 strong Town Council was elected for a 4-year term in May 2011. 7 Labour members of the Council have resigned so far!

Councillors Dowd and Tweed are both Sefton Cabinet Members and Borough Councillors for Bootle wards on Sefton Council.

In order to remain in office, every councillor has to turn out to an official council meeting at least once every 6 months: neither Cllr Tweed and nor Councillor Dowd had been to a Town Council meeting since May.

Despite Labour’s majority (11 Lab – 5 Lib Dems) on the Town Council the Town Mayor had to cast her vote to block a Lib Dem motion condemning Sefton Council’s Green Belt building plans last month.

SAVE OUR GREEN BELT – Maghull Town Council – A complete lack of leadership

I was recently asked by the Labour administration whether the now 5 strong group of Lib Dem Opposition members on Maghull Town Council would like to help Labour in its proposed sample survey of the Maghull population over the draft Local Plan that Labour run Sefton Borough Council is putting forward. That draft Local Plan, which has already been endorsed for consultation by the majority Labour Group on Sefton Council, means a huge chunk of Maghull’s Green Belt is down to be concreted over.

I got to see a copy of the proposed survey and after consultation with my fellow Lib Dem members we decided not to work with Labour over this matter. But why did we make that decision? Don’t Lib Dems believe in co-operation with other political parties? Well yes we do but…………….

Our problem with Labour over the Sefton Green Belt is that whilst they have been shouting ‘save the Green Belt’ they have been voting to consult on doing just the opposite. What’s more some of the Labour members of Sefton Council also sit on Maghull Town Council; in fact 5 Labour members of Sefton Council (including 3 all-powerful Bootle Cabinet members) are members of Maghull Council.

Separately, Maghull Town Council Labour Group recently published a plan for their own proposed activities over the next year or so. Included in this plan was the proposed Green Belt survey. We Lib Dems said then that the Town Council needed to lead the community to oppose the Green Belt grab rather than launching an all too late sample consultation.

You see the real problem here is that any sample public consultation should have been undertaken in 2011 when the first round of public consultation took place over the Green Belt. All of the Parish Councils in Sefton made submissions to the Borough Council about their concerns back then but Maghull Town Council, under its Labour leadership, made no comment at all!

Two years down the track and Big Brother Labour run Sefton Council has proposed the biggest of all the Green Belt developments in the Borough should be on Maghull’s high grade agricultural land east of Poverty Lane. If Maghull TC had fought for the Green Belt back in 2011 we may not now be facing the attack on the Town’s Green belt now. If you don’t make representations when it matters you should not be surprised if failing to make representations drops you in it!

Also back in July across 3 of Maghull’s 4 electoral Town Council wards there were by-elections where Labour lost 2 of the 3 seats up for grabs and clung onto the 3rd by just 9 votes. And what were the two big issues in those by-elections? Not surprisingly they were opposition to Labour’s proposal to build on the Green Belt and to Labour’s plan to charge folks to have their green bins emptied. Two of those by-elections (the 2 Labour lost) were fought across the two Town Council wards that make up the Borough ward of Sudell. My point? Sudell ward is where all the Green Belt building is proposed to happen in Maghull!

Elections are the biggest test of opinion in a democracy as everyone on the electoral register has the chance to vote should they choose to do so. In Maghull North and East wards (the two which make up Sudell ward) Labour failed the public consultation test because they were proposing Green Belt building and charging for Green Bin collections. Don’t you think that the public consultation has been done, that it is very recent and that the result is clear; do I.

Labour’s consultation smacks of ‘we did not like the result of the last consultation (elections) so lets try again to see if we can find a way of getting a different answer’.

Please Labour, stop this carry on now and reaffirm the Town Council policy from 1998 (when it was Lib Dem run). Back then the Council led the community and fought a hard campaign to see off Sefton Borough Council who wanted to build on the Green Belt. It may be very late in the day, it may well be that saying nothing in 2011 showed an appalling lack of community leadership, but Labour can repent if they just stop running around in circles and do what the electorate said in July – fight to save the Green Belt instead of voting to build on it!!