Kidsgrove and Newcastle Borough Council Margaret Astle appears once again to question the role of democracy in her online postings. It had been reported that Kidsgrove and Newcastle Borough Councillor Margaret Astles online website was reporting to be “suspended”, however now back online we have been made aware of some interesting comments by the Kidsgrove Councillor.
It all centres on the right of the electorate to call an election when an elected member leaves office. This is a given right and as long as 10 residents ask for an election, one has to be held. When former UKIP Kidsgrove Councillor Mathew Banner stepped down from representing the Talke Ward this left Kidsgrove Council requiring a new member.
Kidsgrove Town Council has seen a high number of councillors leave Kidsgrove Town Council, with all previous slots being filled by the council “co-oping” members to the council. It has been interesting to note how prior to this it was nearly all Labour representatives being co-opted on to Kidsgrove Town Council. This action clearly would not impress other political parties who clearly felt that the Labour leadership were playing politics at Kidsgrove Town Council.
Margaret Astle in her online postings appears to be criticizing the democratic system which exists. She states “It now appears that the by-election has been called by former UKIP councillor Matthew Banner” … “Is this an error or sheer malice?” She then goes on further to name the person who has handed in the electoral request form into Newcastle Borough Council “I have also made inquiries at Newcastle borough council and I have been reliably informed that a male with the name of Alex Wright personally handed in the documentation containing the necessary signatures in order to call the Talke by-election.” “I must admit that I am astounded by this form of behaviour!”
I’m sure that many Kidsgrove residents are also astounded by this behaviour from Margaret Astle. It is also quite worrying that Newcastle Borough Council will disclose such information about residents for a councillors to public online.
This isn’t the first time that Margaret Astle has made such an opposition to the democratic right of the Kidsgrove electorate. In 2010 she was making similar claims regarding the calling of an election in Newchapel.
Kidsgrove and Newcastle Councillor Margaret Astle appears to get confused as to the responsibly of Newcastle Borough Council and Kidsgrove Town Council, when suggesting other alternative spends for the cost of any election. She goes on to state “Kidsgrove and Talke have been starved of funding for over three years and both area’s are full of pot holes, the roads are in a state of disrepair. We have weeds growing out of the blocked gullies and on the edges of the broken kerb stones. Inadequate street lighting needs to be replaced…”. All of this is not the responsibility of the above councils and comes out of a totally separate budget. Many Kidsgrove residents have recently been commenting on how impressed they have been with the standard of the roads in Kidsgrove following massive investment from Staffordshire County Council.
There is one interesting final remark in Margaret Astle’s posting “Kidsgrove town council could have easily co-opted an independent candidate…”. Interesting comment given that co-opting is meant to involve an interview process and no one would have had the chance to apply.
In the end no election was held in Talke as only one candidate stood for election. Sylvia Dymond, 52 from Church Street in Talke was elected to Kidsgrove Town Councillor as an independent.