August 9, 2008

So Where Did the Merger Plans Go?

Over recent editions this page has carried letters about the age old chestnut of a possible merger between Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Newcastle Borough Council.

The basis of the resurgence of this topic by the writers has been that Simon Tagg, as leader of the controlling group, is hiding relevant information from the residents. Since I have many items filed away on this subject from past copies of The Sentinel, can I remind readers of a report on page 17 of printed on Monday, April 3, 2006.

This edition reported that the then Labour leader of the borough council, David Leach, vowed he would debate the merger plan in June of that year.

Of course, there had been rumours that the city council, the borough council and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council had been involved in discussions over a considerable period of time, and since these were never denied one has to assume that there was some truth in them.

Since Councillor Leach was defeated a few weeks later, the promised debate never materialised.

So I find it strange that Councillor Tagg is now being accused of stifling debate, especially in the same report Cllr Tagg was asking for a debate as a matter of urgency.

Surely since Cllr Leach was leading the council on behalf of the Labour party, it was beholden of him to inform the residents as to how these discussions were progressing on a regular basis.

The fact that he did not could be construed that the Labour group knew that it was a vote loser. Perhaps the leaders of the current coalition could ask the remnants of Cllr Leach's former New Labour group to come clean on what was being discussed with the Stoke-on-Trent and the Staffordshire Moorlands councils over their years in control.



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