On Your Marks, Get Set, Police!

As Olympomania grips Britain, politics is taking a back foot. But here in Staffordshire, a completely different marathon has just begun.

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Election Results: Opposition Take Seat From Labour

A City Independent, Jackie Barnes, has won a seat on Stoke-on-Trent City Council, strengthening the opposition against the ruling Labour group.

The by-election in the Springfields & Trent Vale ward was held on July 26. A total of 9 candidates from across the political spectrum stood in the contest, which saw a turnout of 21.6%.

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9 Stand For Council Byelection

Nine candidates will stand in the upcoming byelection in Stoke-on-Trent, representing a wide range of political perspectives, from the far-left to the far-right.

The election will take place on Thursday July 26th, following the resignation of Labour’s ex-cabinet member, Sarah Hill.

Below is the Statement of Persons Nominated:

 

10 Labour Councillors To Face Standards

Ten Labour councillors, including the Council Leader, will face standards hearings next week after a string of complaints were made to the council.

Three other cabinet members and recently announced Police and Crime Commissioner candidate, Joy Garner, will join him.

Accused of failing to correctly register interests are:

Cllr Mohammed Pervez
Cllr Joy Garner
Cllr Ruth Rosenau
Cllr Janine Bridges
Cllr Alan Dutton
Cllr Kath Banks
Cllr Alastair Watson
Cllr Shazad Hussain
And ex-Cllr Sarah Hill

Cllr Amjid Wazir, who was last year suspended for a month for improper conduct is accused of failing to declare electoral expenses covered by the Labour party.

Reasons given by councillors range from confusion with other forms, mixed up dates and genuine mistake.

Another councillor will face standards on a separate issue.

Stoke Election Called

Stoke-on-Trent voters have the chance to elect a new councillor in upcoming elections.

Residents in Springfields and Trent Vale will go to the polls on Thursday July 26th to elect a new member to Stoke-on-Trent City Council, following the resignation of Labour’s Sarah Hill.

Mrs Hill was a cabinet member but was sacked from her position after challenging Cllr Mohammed Pervez for the council leadership. She consequently resigned, criticising the “part-time” leader and his regimes tight control on councillors’ access to the press.

Now, almost two months on, a date has been set for the byelection.

The election is unlikely to send shockwaves through the council’s balance of power, as the Labour group have a huge majority anyway. It’s likely candidates from all of the main parties will stand and online commentators believe a number of independent candidates may come forward.

With the city council only ordinarily going to the polls every four years and the lack of devolved authority to parish or town councils in the city, elections don’t come around very often.

The key local issue is likely to be the council’s recent announcement it will move its headquarters out of Stoke town and into the city centre. The ward is fairly nearby to Stoke town so it is likely many of its residents will rely on a healthy Stoke town economy.

Currently, the Labour group have 33 councillors and there are 7 City Independents, 2 Conservatives and 1 unaffiliated candidate. The BNP and Liberal Democrats lost all their councillors in 2011.

 

 

Moving The Civic Centre – £40m Waste Or Crucial Economic Catalyst?

The political leadership of Stoke-on-Trent City Council sure don’t shy away from risking controversy with big thinking. After two years of budget cuts and a council tax rise, the Labour group are advancing their Mandate for Change further than ever before with the announcement of the relocation of the Civic Centre to Hanley- ahem, the city centre.

The plan is to build a whole new £40m headquarters for the council along Potteries Way (known by council managers as the Central Business District), after being based in the purpose-built  £24m current Civic Centre for 20 years. This will, in turn, and in conjunction with the new bus station and City Sentral complex, attract more private investment in the surrounding city centre area. That’s the plan, anyway… Continue reading

Stoke Youth Speak Out

Here’s a review and comment piece I’ve done following the YMCA hosted Youth Hustings on May 22nd – chaired by Mike Sassi, Editor-in-Chief of The Sentinel.

The Youth Hustings, open to all young people across the city, was an opportunity to voice concerns and challenge community, business and political leaders. The recently refurbished Mitchell Arts Centre played host to a diverse panel who tackled questions from the audience of eager youngsters. Continue reading