Trouble and strife for Labour in Redcar

In 2010, Liberal Democrat Ian Swales won the Redcar seat with a swing of 22% from Labour. He announced last July that he was standing down and in September local Councillor Josh Mason was selected to defend his 5200 majority.

It seems that while the Liberal Democrats in Redcar are working hard to elect Josh, all is not so well in the Labour camp where local leaders have been likened to North Korea and a neighbouring Labour MP has taken to using Freedom of Information legislation to find out what his party’s council is doing.

The Northern Echo has the story:

Labour lost what was once a safe parliamentary seat to the Liberal Democrats at the last General Election in 2010 but are still the largest party on the council.

Darlington Labour councillor Nick Wallis was called in to investigate strife between rival factions of the party in 2012 so the party could concentrate on winning the constituency back.

The resulting report was not made public but has now been leaked. Recommendations were made and followed-up but Cllr Goldswain, said the situation had actually worsened since 2012.

Last year five leading councillors have been deselected as candidates to stand for the council for not “showing a commitment to campaigning for the party”.

Two of them were cabinet members – Cllr Goldswain and Norman Pickthall – and both have had their appeals rejected.

Cllr Goldswain, who expects to be suspended from the party altogether for going public, stood by quotes that the party in Redcar “had gone to war with itself” and was “almost akin to North Korea”.


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  • “almost akin to North Korea”.

    Are they being advised by Lord Carlile ?

  • Yet they are 1/7 to win the seat, the LibDems and UKIP are joint second favs at 8/1. So not that much trouble and strife.

  • suzanne fletcher 13th Jan '15 - 12:33pm

    None of this is exaggerated, if you have any experience of Labour in the North East. It was on the news this morning that a female labour council had spoken out saying the bullying in the group had led to her having a nervous breakdown.
    When I was on Stockton Council we used to call “reselection time”, “tin hat time”, as the fall out had repercussions everywhere.
    thankfully never literally true, but labour group meetings were referred to as “blood on the carpet” afterwards, as were the meetings of the NE Labour group in the old Association of North East Councils. I could tell many stories but this is a public forum.

  • suzanne fletcher 16th Jan '15 - 3:39pm

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