Thursday, April 19, 2007

LibDem Leader's BNP Links


The bomb has well and truly gone off under Cllr Steven Jones, leader of the LibDem Group on Darlington Council.


For reasons not yet explained, Cllr. Jones signed the nomination papers of BNP candidate Daniel Brown, who is also standing in the town's North Road ward. As Cllr. Jones also signed the nomination papers of fellow LibDem candidates Mike Barker and Fred Lawton, he was effectively placing his own candidacy in a very curious position!


Perhaps not surprisingly, Cllr. Jones has been ousted as the LibDem Group Leader as their first response to the crisis, and the local party has put out a very terse statement which leaves more questions unanswered. Principally, how on earth can an experienced councillor like Steven Jones claim that he signed the nomination papers "as a mistake?"


What local LibDems want everyone to forget is that their party has been involved in shady involvement with the BNP in this part of town before. It was only Labour's exposure of the cosying-up between the LibDems, the Tories and the BNP in the short-lived Harrowgate Hill Community Group (sic) in 2003 which caused that venture to collapse.


The tragedy is that when the three main democratic parties in Darlington should have maintained a united front against racist politics in the town during this election, the LibDem's Leader has blown away that front with the stroke of his pen. I don't think this is the last we'll hear of this story by any means.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cllr Wallis
People in glass houses should not throw stones your North Road candidate certainly had a problem at last nights Hurworth meeting, when he lost the plot right at the end!
He just went Bal-my if it had not been for another Cllr telling him to calm down his head would of exploded with the pressure!
So you should not be so fast to kick others when they are down!

Paul Leake said...

I generally thought that the Lib Dems had expelled people from the party for far less than signing the nomination papers of someone who is not only an opposition candidate, but a candidate of a party that is either racist or knowingly panders to racism. That Darlington Lib Dems haven't called on Jones to withdraw is appalling.

Paul Leake said...

I generally thought that the Lib Dems had expelled people from the party for far less than signing the nomination papers of someone who is not only an opposition candidate, but a candidate of a party that is either racist or knowingly panders to racism. That Darlington Lib Dems haven't called on Jones to withdraw is appalling.

Anonymous said...

I remember Mark Burton being a member of the said Harrowgate Hill resident group back in 2003 and he set up the Harrowgatehill Community Web Site for this group. He was a full up member and the people who slagged him off, John Vasey and Liz Hart who slagged the group off to the press are now his running mates.

This is what Labour are offering.

Anonymous said...

Who? Banner Burton!

Sion said...

I remember when residents who were frightfully concerned over the sale of playing fields from Longfield School gathered together to form a residents’ association back in 2003. At that time Mark Burton ran the Darlington Town website and campaigned relentlessly to save the land from the path of the developer. He and a lady called Kath Cheadle eventually managed to stop the sale from taking place. On several occasions at the meeting held at the Rolling Mills I remember Mark raising his concerns over the inclusion of a BNP member in the group, but his opinions were ‘smoothed’ over owing to the groups goal; to form a residents’ association with the inclusion of all residents. This is where, I believe, it all started for Mark and what has lead to where he is now; putting himself forward as a candidate for the good of his community and I wish him the best of luck.

mike barker said...

To answer Paul Leake. Steve Jones has been suspended from the Lberal Democrats. It is not possible to withdraw his name from the ballot because the date at which this could take place has passed. We asked Democratic Services whether his name could be withdrawn and were informed that it could not.
When we found out about this yesterday we took the severest sanctions open to us locally: we removed him from the position of leader of the Group.
This morning, when our Central Office at Cowley Street, London SW1 were informed by us, they took the immediate step of suspending him from membership of the Party.
Cllr Jones has the right to appeal against this. Failure of this appeal will lead to permanent explusion from the Liberal Democrats.
Cllr Jones' actions are in no way supported by any members of the local or national party. We abhor the BNP and all its works. We, together with Labour and Conservatives, fight against the policies of the BNP and oppose them totally.
The failings of one local councillor should not be used - as unfortunately, but not unsurprisingly, Cllr Wallis wishes to do - to try to besmirch the reputations of other Liberal Democrat candidates or the Party as a whole.

Paul Leake said...

Mike - much more re-assuring than the statement on the DLD's website!

Obviously there are deadlines about withdrawing candidates which in Durham four years ago led to a Lib Dem leaflet urging the voters of one ward to only vote for two of the three nominated Lib Dems when a candidates personal situation was such that they no longer could wish to be elected.

DEMOCRACY NOW! said...

Lets keep this in perspective. All that has happened is that Councillor Jones has quite admirably signed a nomination paper for somebody with a different opinion to his own to stand.
Well done Councillor Jones you are a true democrat.
He obviously doesn't agree with the BNP, otherwise he would have paid his subs to them rather than the Lib Dems - isn't that fairly obvious?

I also agree with democracy, which means allowing the electorate to reject or accept the BNP. Councillor Jones has allowed this interesting contest to happen and also allow himself to beat them.

But at the end of the day, which is worse, somebody signing a form to allow somebody with an opinion different to ones own to stand or drug assault on a disabled man for a cheap laugh which has been alleged to have been done by a Darlington Labour councillor. This Labour councillor was then sacked from their employment for this assault allegedly - if the story is true!

Is it true? and if it is will we see a condemnation from Darlington Labour Party of this person over this matter?

Captain Democracy.

Anonymous said...

Cllr Steve Jones replies.
Mike Barker should stick to one story he knew about this on the 11.04.07 and decided to keep it quite when they knew it was to hit the press they called a meeting at which was discused the possible outcomes it was stated i could be sacked from the local group this was turned down by all but mike barker i was then asked to resign which i did (i was not sacked ) i was also given the assurance that my council colleagues and the party would continue to support me this has now been withdrawn, it also appears from the lib-dem site and this blog, that this was never there intention i admit i was very foolish in what i did and there was no malice attached and i appologised, as stated i have been suspened by the national party but will continue to campaign to be elected so i can continue the work i have done and wish to carry on for the residents of north road, if re-elected i will have to become an independent councillor but will continue to work hard for all residents in the ward, i am a liberal democrate and have never supported the BNP or it ideals and will never do so but i do believe in giving the local people the choice to vote for whoever they wish this is democracy. I have e-mails to back up the statments that have been made.

Anonymous said...

As you have already implied in this blog, the Conservatives in Darlington are a pathatic lost cause. The Liberal Democrats will no doubt come out of this situation severly damaged in the media & publics perception . The Labour party are unpopular due to the illegal Iraq war, Home Office fiasco etc. There are three seats up for grabs in this ward. The BNP candidate must now really fancy his chances of obtaining the last one. An infamous & historic Darlington election night perhaps?

Darlington Councillor said...

Please note - I've had to delete two posts which made scurrilous allegations against a named individual.

Anonymous said...

So viagra is a sore point with Labour then? The readers can only assume the scurillous accusations to be true, It appears ok to villify SJ but not EVS.

Anonymous said...

very biased cllr wallis tut tut, what happend to honesty and openess,is that only for the other parties

Paul Leake said...

anon - SJ has admitted the facts of the matter - that he signed nomination papers for a candidate who is on the ballot paper as a BNP candidate. That's the difference. Judge Nick if he deletes comments that represent something that is undisputed fact that is unpalatable to his politics, not just something that which while it may or may not be true, is still unproven rumour.

Darlington Councillor said...

Thanks for that, Paul - you're entirely correct. I'm aware of unsubstantiated tittle-tattle regarding an individual in the Harrowgate Hill area, but as it is nothing more than that as far as I'm aware, I'm deleting comments which repeat the scurrilous allegation.

Captain Democracy said...

Come on Moonface, Scurrilous?
You sound like a man on the ropes.
A disabled man has allegedly suffered. Do the right thing and stand up for what is right not just covering up for your party buddies. People would respect you more if you were honest and open.

The whole incident is the worst kept secret in Darlington Politics and the North End of town. By being so evasive on the subject you are only serving to make yourself look not only uncredible and dishonest but also silly.

Captain Democracy said...

Darlington Councillor said...
Thanks for that, Paul - you're entirely correct. I'm aware of unsubstantiated tittle-tattle regarding an individual in the Harrowgate Hill area, but as it is nothing more than that as far as I'm aware, I'm deleting comments which repeat the scurrilous allegation.

22 April, 2007 13:16


Thanks for that DC - good to know that you have confirmed that the councillor in question is from Harrowgate Hill. That certainly narrows it down. This page has been saved as proof and you will be pleased to know that as we speak leaflets using your quote and highlighting the drug assault on a vulnerable member of the community by a councillor are thundering off the press as we speak, ready to be pushed through letterboxes in Harrowgate Hill ward within the next few days. This could cost Labour three seats!

tom nicholson said...

the Lib Dems have tried to hijack the friends of north park and the community partnership and make political headlines out of it. I came off these two groups because of their political overtones. Lets have elected councilors who are there for the people

Anonymous said...

A trifle late, but this subject matter was not a trifling matter when the Three local Labour Politicians , backed by the Labour Party, saw fit to make a political attack on a NON-Political Group trying to work for and improve Harrowgate Hill. Legal advice was taken by the Harrowgate Hill Community Group and they were told by two separate solicitors that they each had a case of defamation of character and also of being libelled by assocation.

It was also made evident that the local residents in the HHCGroup were not being represented by the then three Labour Councillors of Harrowgate Hill. This was an even worse charge - Of
Disenfranchisement! i REMIND YOU THAT THE GROUP ITSELF WAS NON POLITIACL, THEY WERE TOGETHER TO WORK FOR THE AREA OF hARROWGATE hILL AND ITS CONSTITUTION SHOWED THIS. pOLITICS WERE LEFT AT THE DOOR. MEETINGS WERE ABOVE THIS.

wHERE WAS THE GROUP TO GO FOR ASSISTANCE ....

The standards board for England made the decision that they themselves were not to be involved due to the political involvement of the matter.

THE LOCAL CVS WARNED THE COUNCIL THAT THE COUNCIL THEMSELVES WOULD BE DISCRIMINATING AGAINST HHC GROUP IF THEY CONTINUED. CVS POINTED OUT THAT DBC GIVE FUNDING TO CVS AND CVS WERE NOT GOING TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST THE GROUP AS THEY WERE NOT A POLITICAL GROUP, SIMPLY DOING GOOD WORK IN THE AREA AND AS SUCH WOULD CONTINUE TO GIVE ADVICE ON ISSUES, FUNDING ETC IN JUST THE SAME WAY THAT THEY HELPED OTHER VOLUNTARY GROUPS.

The Local Government Ombudsman could not get involved until a case had been through the Council's Complaints Procedure at three levels of investigation.

ALL TIED UP THEN!! MAYBE SO, BUT NO-ONE HAS EVER FORGOTTEN IN HARROWGATE HILL -

OR MAYBE JUST ONE -

THE NEW LABOUR COUNCILLOR MARK BURTON - WHO WAS ACTUALLY ONE OF HHCG COMMITTEE MEMBERS AT THE TIME OF THE ATTACK. THE OTHER TWO COUNCILLORS WERE NOT VOTED IN AGAIN - NO SURPRISES THERE THEN. WHEN WILL COUNCILLORS LEARN THAT THE LOCAL RESIDENTS ARE TRYING TO DO GOOD FOR THE COMMUNITIES IN WHICH THEY LIVE, WITHOUT BEING INVOLVED IN SUCH ASTONISHING PARTY POLITICAL MISCHIEF?

The District and National Labour Party Offices were very interested in the cases.

No Heads rolled, but HHCG were informed that hands were slapped. I HOPE THEY ARE STILL SMARTING BECAUSE THEY STILL NEED TO LEARN

BEWARE OTHER GROUPS IN DARLINGTON THE LABOUR TEAM HAS NOT CHANGED AND STILL PROMOTE THEIR OWN POLITICAL AGENDAS AND DO NOT WORRY WHO FALLS ALONG THE WAY - AS LONG AS ITS NOT THEM

Darlington Councillor said...

A trifle late? Well, as it will probably just you and me, anonymous, who are still reading this thread, I'll make the following (very brief) observations;

(1) The defeated local Tories and LibDem candidates' stunt to try and create a phony residents' group in the aftermath of the 2003 local election defeat in Harrowgate Hill probably seemed very clever - by inviting a member of the BNP to join the committee (as Treasurer, from memory), however, it doomed the attempt to an ignominious failure.

I helped the then Harrowgate Hill ward councillors expose what was going on, and in truth, it was one of those interventions of which I am most proud - had the group succeeded, the BNP would have had an "in" into mainstream Darlington politics, which has been denied to them to date.

I make no apologies for helping to bring this squalid little plot to the attention of Harrowgate Hill residents - the attempt to censure me via the Standards Board was a pretty desperate move, I thought. And if 2 solicitors thought that there were grounds for a defamation action, why didn't committee members take this further?

I haven't the faintest idea what you are talking about when you claim that the "District and National Labour Party offices were very interested in the case." Presumably only insofar as Darlington Labour Party members were helping to root out BNP entryism into a supposed community association - the BNP were thus thwarted in their attempt to gain local and regional credibility.

In my opinion, politics in Harrowgate Hill and more widely in Darlington as a whole are all the better for the turn of events, and Labour's exposure of the facts.