Police Investigate Alleged Breach of Representation of the People’s Act in Stoke South

Staffordshire Police are investigating an alleged breach of section 114 of the Representation of the People’s Act 1983 involving a Labour Party candidate in a ward in the South of the city.

The allegation involves providing refreshments to members of the public who attended a community event where the Labour Candidate was introduced and addressed the meeting.

The event was also attended by a number of other Labour candidates and a Member of Parliament.

Section 114 of the Representation of the People’s Act 1983 clearly states that providing food, drink or entertainment could be classed as Treating.

Section 114 of the RPA 1983 says

Treating: A person is guilty of treating if either before, during or after an election or referendum they directly or indirectly give or provide (or pay wholly or in part the expense of giving or providing) any food, drink, entertainment or provision in order to influence any voter to vote or refrain from voting.
Corrupt practice, Section 114, RPA 1983

Staffordshire Police have confirmed that they are currently investigating the matter.

A Statement released by Staffordshire Police says

An allegation has been made with regard to a breach of section 114 of the RPA and the circumstances are currently being investigated.

The Labour Party confirmed that they are aware of the allegation but has strongly denied any wrong doing.

A Spokesman for the Labour Party in Stoke-on-Trent said

We can happily confirm that there was an event that took place on the 27th March and that those who attended did indeed receive a cup of tea and a biscuit. This is perfectly reasonable and a common courtesy. The cost of the event will, of course, be included in the election expenses.

A number of people in the ward concerned and surrounding areas are said to be furious that the candidate concerned has been named, along with another allegation that other Labour candidates and a MP are also under investigation, on a rival political group’s website.

The website claims

4 Labour candidates and a Labour MP from the Labour Party ,its has now been confirmed, are involved in police investigation into an allegation that a Labour Candidate breached the Representation of the People’s Act 1983, Section 114, in attempting to gain votes through iterating potential voters, a criminal offence subject up to £5000 fine or six months imprisonment.

The website has also published the name of a candidate that it says is under police investigation.

Staffordshire Police have confirmed to Pits n Pots this morning [Tuesday] that they have not, or have any intention of, confirming the name or the number of individuals connected with this inquiry or whether charges will follow.

A Labour Party Spokesperson in the South of the City said

This is typical of some of the gutter tactics that certain individuals and groups stoop to around election time.

I have no problem with the investigation but the naming of individuals before any guilt is proved is nothing but dirty tricks.

Comments are closed on this article as the matter is under Police investigation that may, or may not, result in charges.

Stoke-on-Trent Central MP Tristram Hunt On Regeneration & The Intangible Stuff

Newly-elected Stoke-on-Trent MP Tristram Hunt explains why continued government investment in education and skills is so vital for ‘cities in transition’

Struggling cities”Å¡ challenging cities”Å¡ cities in transition”Å¡ these are today’s buzz words for the public policy of managing change in industrial cities.

In America, the examples of Detroit, Gary and Buffalo have all been cited to support the idea of right-sizing cities and rolling back the urban footprint of declining manufacturing centres. In Britain, radical opinion-formers on the right have urged a mass transhumance from the post industrial north to the financial services south ““ or, at least, they did until the bubble burst.

But while these ideas might look good in a seminar room, they fail to take account either of the economic resilience of many manufacturing centres or the political requirement to support established communities. As the newly-elected MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, these are the issues I am beginning to grapple with.

As an historian, I am more than aware of the heroic past of the Potteries ““ how the soils of North Staffordshire gave birth to the Industrial Revolution; how its canals began the transport revolution; and how the kilns of Etruria pioneered modern factory production. But now, as a politician, I am also realising we need to be aggressive about exploiting that history in order to build a sustainable future.

For there is no doubt that while the likes of Sheffield and Derby ““ and, of course, Birmingham and Manchester ““have regenerated over the last 15 years, Stoke-on-Trent has not enjoyed the same success. Part of this is down to a different economic trajectory as North Staffordshire’s staple industries continued to suffer economic readjustment well into the 1990s. It was One Nation ““ and Michael Heseltine ““ that closed the last of the coalmines. The steel foundries followed soon after, and the past 20 years has seen the numbers employed in the pottery industry fall from around 50,000 to little more than 5,000.

But politics is also to blame. Weak councils ““ followed by long periods of introspection over the merits of elected mayors ““ combined with a proud if politically unstable culture of independent representatives, has put off investment. While the strong, concentrated leadership of Sir Howard Bernstein and Sir Richard Leese has reaped dividends in Manchester, the so-called “curse of the Potteries” (of relentless political change) has cost the city dear. Unfortunately, we still remain in a period of relative political uncertainty within the city but next year’s new governance system ““ of only 44 councillors with four-year terms of office ““ offers a longed-for chance of stable leadership. And Stoke-on-Trent’s three Labour MPs ““ myself together with Rob Flello and Joan Walley ““ are already working closely as a Potteries bloc.

Yet the real key to success lies in changing a culture of scepticism toward education and skills. As with many of Britain’s manufacturing or port cities, where young men and women could walk into jobs at 16 in mills, docks or factories with little need for formal education, Stoke-on- Trent has not had a history of valuing learning. Yet those jobs in the pot banks and the mines have gone, often to China or Indonesia, and the jobs of tomorrow are going to demand education, training and apprenticeships.

This is the rationale behind Labour’s phenomenal investment in the city ““ from SureStart centres to refitting primary schools, from a new 6th Form College to the University Quarter around Staffordshire University. The Labour Party was also committed to spending £250m on a Building Schools for the Future programme for all secondary schools, which could now be cut by the Tory/LibDem coalition.

For it is increasingly clear that sustainable urban regeneration is not about shimmering new piazzas and al-fresco dining opportunities; it is about investment in human capital. And far more effective than big public sector back-office job allocation is the slow revival of private sector enterprise.

Much of this is often down to the intangible stuff of regeneration. Yes, you need a professional council, competitive rates, decent housing and transport facilities, and a skilled workforce. But you also need a sense of “a city on the up” and today, Stoke-on-Trent has that.

As the financial services bubble finally bursts and Britain realises it still needs to make things, the Potteries is well-placed to prosper. Ceramics jobs are coming back to the area, thanks partly to the anti-competitive costs of currency swings and partly to the commercial advantage of a “Made in Stoke-on-Trent” brand. With it, we need to rebuild the engineering and manufacturing base which once underpinned the industry. The new £400m University Hospital of North Staffordshire is bringing skilled medical and scientific professionals to the area, while jobs in leisure, tourism, education and retail are also growing. But the intangibles are also there ““ Stoke City storming the Premier League; the return of the Anglo-Saxon Staffordshire Hoard to its Mercian resting place; even the Hanley Regatta”Å¡ celebrating our canal heritage.

Conservative hoping to be Stoke Central’s next MP has published a clean expenses and fair campaign pledge.

The Conservative hoping to be Stoke Central’s next MP has published a clean expenses and fair campaign pledge. 
 
The contract for honesty and transparency was made by Norsheen Bhatti and follows the scandal over MPs expenses.
 
If elected Norsheen has pledged:
  • to make her main home in Stoke Central
  • only claim for rent or mortgage
  • not to claim for food, furniture or household goods
  • to only claim for second class travel
  • not to employee any family members
  • publish all her expense claims on her website for residents to inspect
  • make her accounts available to local newspapers to scrutinise
Norsheen said:
 
“The expenses scandal has badly damaged the reputation of parliament and I want to make it clear to voters in Stoke that I will not play the system or bend the rules. 
 
I want to live by the highest standards that we should be able to expect from our elected representatives.” 
 
Norsheen also made an additional commitment to run a positive campaign avoiding personal attacks and negative campaigning.
 
Norsheen said:
 
“We’ve already seen some candidates making insults and smears and we won’t restore trust in politics or politicians by restoring to negative campaigning, smears and dishonesty.
Running a positive campaign on how make Stoke a better place to live and work is essential if we are to regain the confidence of the public.”

BAN THE BOOZE – IN PUBLIC!


Well it seems that the issue of drinking in public just won’t go away,
I wonder why? Could it be that it is linked with most occurrences of Anti Social Behaviour? I have blogged before that this surge on our society needs to be tackled and a ban of drinking in public places would go a long way to stopping people felling intimidated whilst going about their normal lives.
Newcastle Borough Council have issued another 50 alcohol restriction zones, bring the total to 349. Anyone caught drinking in these restriction zones face a fine of up to £500.
Why oh why is it taking Stoke on Trent City Council so long to follow suit? In our city large numbers of honest residents witness countless episodes of anti social behaviour around our council and private estates, this problem has no respect of class or gender. Where I live in Meir Hay there has been loads of trouble with youngster congregating around our local Tesco convenience store and other shops where they hang around. Last year, because there was so much trouble around the estate and old people in particular were frightened and intimidated by these gangs and were often abused as they walked past them. I myself, witnessed a full on street fight where rival gangs the MHC (Meir Hay Crew) and the SHC (Sanford Hill Crew) were trying to beat several shades out of each other. The police were called and the gang dispersed.
Incidents like this prompted several public meetings instigated by Rob Flello MP and i have to say they were a tremendous success, even Mark Meredith was in attendance! These meetings gave people a platform to have their say and to take comfort in the number of people who wanted something done about this problem. Rob Flello persuaded the City Council to impose a section30 dispersal order on the Meir Hay/Weston Park estates. This order was in force for 6 months and it gave the police the power to disperse gangs of two or more young people, if they were caught more than twice in one day they were taken home, persistent offenders were eventually arrested and were made to sign behaviour contracts. No alcohol restriction orders were introduced, although Mr Flello talked about the possibility.
Recently i have noticed these gangs coming back onto the estates and i wonder if it will be a matter of time before the trouble starts again. Meir Park, Weston Coyney & Trentham are known to have similar problems.
There is no doubt in my mind that alcohol plays a massive part in anti social behaviour. It is so easy to obtain cheap beer and cider and some of the large supermarkets are to blame for this.
You only have to look at the case of Gary Newlove to see how dangerous alcohol can be in the wrong hands and i admit to being worried if a case like this will be seen somewhere in our city if we do not introduce Alcohol Restriction Zones and if Newcastle can have over 350 of these, why can’t our council before it becomes much, much worse? Is this a sledge hammer to crack a nut? Should we let young people drink alcohol in public? What would you do to defeat anti social behaviour?
Read the Sentinel Story on this by following this link:
http://www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk/council/Boozing-banned-public-tackle-drunken-yobs/article-396575-detail/article.html


Anti Social Behaviour – Again

Another example of Anti-Social Behavior is highlighted in todays “Sentinel” This particular story confirms to me that we have a City wide problem with this issue. Something needs doing now! If you haven’t read the story click here: http://www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk/news/Police-throw-book-stone-yobs/article-355127-detail/article.html

We live in Meir Hay and until recently we had a Section 30 dispersal order after a number of trouble filled months. We had quite a lot of young people both lads and lasses that had attached themselves to gangs. These gangs fought with the gangs off neighboring estates. Several Friday nights there were times that I was driving somewhere on would observe full on fights between these gangs and they would be all over residents gardens running in all directions. Police presence was regular and to be honest we could not have asked for better policing. The PCSO’s were particularly helpful at this time as the y were constantly on the beat and aware of any flash points. Old people were afraid to use the local convenience store as youths were gathering around these shops, insults and bad language were common place. The Section 30 lasted for about six months and allow the police to disperse groups of more than two under 18 youngsters, if they were seen more than twice in a day they were arrested and taken home. I know many gang members and other youths were given and made to sign “good behaviour contracts”. Mostly these worked and were effective but I also know of kids who were given these and had done no more than “just be out”. Some residents thought it was a sledge hammer to crack a nut! Rob Flello (MP for Stoke South) instigated many community meeting to tackle the issue of Anti-Social Behaviour and I attended all these and was really struck by how big a problem this was and what some people were going through. These meetings worked, with out a doubt and it got people together facing up to the issue and talking about it. This is something that needs to be done in Stoke North, So come on Joan Walley and the councilors involved get your fingers out and get cracking down on this now! It’s been a quiet twelve months around us but recently i have noticed gangs of youths hanging around the shops again, I’ll let you know what happens if anything. One thing that did come out of this was that there is absolutely nothing for the young people in our area to do and whilst this does not condone their actions, you feel that if they had some facilities they would not have to hang around the streets. Let’s all keep our eye on the Sentinel to see if this is going to be a bigger problem over the winter.