Proposals put forward by the Boundaries Commission, currently out for consultation, suggest a major redrawing of constituency boundaries and the creation of 2 new MPs. And what’s more the new boundaries look favourable for Labour with Bridgwater, Taunton and Frome all losing largely Tory voting rural areas. Speaking on BBC Radio today Cllr Brian Smedley , Labour Leader of Bridgwater Town Council, welcomed the proposals but urged a very slight amendment which would see Hinkley Point brought into the proposed Bridgwater Constituency and not tacked on to the large cross border Minehead-Tiverton one saying “A major nuclear power station being built ten miles from us clearly affects Bridgwater more than it does Tiverton.”
The new Bridgwater constituency would see the loss of the West Somerset area, where traditionally Tory votes have been wheeled in by the barrowload and makes the new seat, which just includes the wards around Labour voting Bridgwater itself plus the neighbouring towns of Burnham and Highbridge, a target seat for Labour. Cllr Smedley says “Within the new boundary there is a major change of voter dynamics and people can see that their vote really does count. Bridgwater is the major population centre and traditionally has voted Labour and so has Highbridge and Woolavington. This now swings the chances of a Labour gain massively in our favour and will inspire floating voters who historically might not have thought their vote would make a different now take a different view.”Continue reading “Parliamentary Boundary Changes Could Bring Labour Gains in Somerset”
With 6,063 Pinged in Somerset County in one week alone it’s time to bring forward sensible freedom for the double jabbed just like in Labour run Wales. Labour Leader Keir Starmer has challenged the Tories to match the 7 August date announced by Welsh Labour for ending the requirement for adults who have been fully vaccinated to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive. The call comes as the latest figures reveal 6063 have been pinged in Somerset County in one week!
Cllr Leigh Redman Somerset County Labour Group leader Said, “This Government’s chaotic handling of the Coronavirus crisis has been a disaster for businesses and families in Somerset. 6063 were pinged in one week alone – 33,039 of us in total. For the sake of our community, our livelihoods and our lives, the this Government have got to end the chaos and bring forward the end of self-isolation for the fully vaccinated, just like in Labour Wales.”Continue reading “‘Pingdemic’ hits Somerset”
Yeovil healthcare worker Rebecca Haselgrove is campaigning to represent the people of College Ward on Yeovil Town Council. The by-election will be held on Thursday 19 August. Mother of two Ms Haselgrove (24) was educated at Milford School and Bucklers Mead Academy. She already has a strong record of multi-tasking. As well as working in the health sector and bringing up her two children, she is also studying for a
degree with the Open University. In her spare time, she fosters animals for a local rescue charity.
Ms Haselgrove said “Yeovil needs fresh young minds getting involved in local issues. The Town Council cannot afford to get stuck in a rut. As a councillor, I would work hard for everyone in College Ward and for Yeovil as a whole. I particularly want to engage younger people, and would want them to know that I would always do my best to help. My passions include working for better health facilities for patients and campaigning to end homelessness and for better quality housing. I am also very concerned about the problems of small businesses in Yeovil, who have had a very hard time of it. Most of all, I wants to ensure the people in Yeovil get the attention that they deserve when it comes to delivering good quality public services.”Continue reading “Local Healthcare worker Rebecca Haselgrove to stand for Labour in Yeovil by-election”
Following last weeks controversial decision by the Government to grant Unitary Council status to a single ‘One Somerset’ Council in the face of a public vote to the contrary which supported the rival districts’ proposal of ‘Stronger Somerset’, County leader David Fothergill has taken several major steps to meet his critics. The most important announcement came today when Mr Fothergill dropped the unpopular ‘One Somerset’ brand and called for a new start. The move was welcomed by opposition leaders . Cllr Brian Smedley Leader of the Sedgemoor Labour Group and Bridgwater Town Council said “This is a crucial change of heart from County. They have accepted this will be a new council of equals and not a County takeover. Districts, Councillors, Towns and Parishes have been justified in calling for a new start with localism at the heart of this project instead of the remote feudal monolith that the Government wanted to install. This now presents opportunities for towns such as Bridgwater to make their case to regain historic powers, continue to deliver services locally, increase and protect a loyal workforce and save democracy. It also means a fresh start and lets hope that now means an end to any so-called ‘Continuity Council’ top down solution. Bridgwater will now engage with all players to make sure we get the best for our communities out of this.”
Reacting to the local government minister’s approval for plans to set up a single unitary local authority covering the whole of Somerset, Yeovil Constituency Labour Party Chair Terry Ledlie set out three simple tests for judging the success of the new council, which must:
improve the quality of local services for all parts of Somerset
not be more expensive than the existing system
treat council staff fairly
Terry Ledlie said, “We need to ensure that the new authority is not just a case of “shuffling the deckchairs”. Rather, it must be made to improve things for the people of Yeovil and all the towns and villages of south Somerset. Its easy to say what we need. A good unitary authority must deliver better local services and not cost significantly more than the present system. Further, council staff should be treated fairly during the merger process. They must be worried at the moment and that will affect morale.”Continue reading ““Three Challenges for One Somerset” : Yeovil Labour”
Tory Secretary of State for local Government Robert Jenrick had been expected to make a public announcement all day about which version of Unitary Government we would have in Somerset. Would it be the monolithic single Somerset where district councils were done away with and feudal fiefdoms of an over-powerful and highly paid shire gentry would concentrate far too much power in their remote hands or would it be the localised democratic option that the people had voted for in a county wide ballot by 65% to 34%. Of course, it was the former, what were we thinking about. Of course this Tory Government can do whatever it wants. But if they were so confident how come they sneaked it out at the very last few minutes of the day, arriving furtively on a Parliamentary web site at 18.55? And if they were so open and inclusive how come Tory County Leader Fothergill was on BBC West claiming victory even before it was declared and the District Council leaders knew nothing? The result for the people of Somerset is nothing short of a disaster. And one which no one asked for or wants.
Labour have won the controversial Batley & Spen by Election. Kim Leadbeater, the sister of Labour MP Jo Cox who was murdered in the streets of her constituency by a Fascist literally days before the Brexit referendum, defeated a Conservative candidate -who’s campaign consisted of mainly keeping a low profile while the odious self promoting Tory voting George Galloway tried to grab the limelight in a bid to ‘oust Keir Starmer’, by a narrow majority despite widespread predictions of Labour defeat and all in a campaign which was marred by violence and homophobic incidents. The best news of the campaign is that Galloway -who predicted that Labour would come 3rd, came 3rd himself and now, joyfully for this media mad publicity monkey he will have to literally ‘eat his hat’-and, if he’s a man who keeps his promises, will hopefully be doing that live on TV.
Congratulations to Kim Leadbeater who fought a difficult campaign and suffered personal attacks harrassment and threats. The victory is for Jo Cox and the people rejected both the Tories and the xenophobes.
Sedgemoor District Council offices were targeted overnight by pro-Palestinian protestors as part of a National and Global campaign against investors in the Elbit Systems Company that supplies the Israeli arms Industry. Sedgemoor’s King Square offices were daubed with red paint and surrounded by tape saying ‘war crime scene’ with ‘Evict Elbit’ daubed on doors and windows. In January 2020 Sedgemoor District Council, as part of its commercial investment acquisition programme, acquired two office blocks in Aztec West in Bristol. Both office blocks were subject to existing tenancies. One of the existing tenants, Elbit Systems, is an Israeli owned defence manufacturer specialising in drones. Its portfolio also includes systems for military aircraft and helicopters, armed remote control boats, land vehicles and for command and control. The company is heavily engaged in the militarisation of borders worldwide. It has electronically controlled walls and border in the Occupied Palestinian territories since 2002 and is a self proclaimed leader in border surveillance technologies. It is the world’s 28th Largest arms-producing company with $3.5bn recorded sales in 2018 (SIPRI 2018). The opposition Labour group on Sedgemoor has condemned the investment and called for disposal at the earliest opportunity.
Bridgwater Town Council members have expressed their opposition to the operation of an incinerator based at Huntworth, near Bridgwater, because of the damage it will do to the environment. The plan is for the so called ‘Bridgwater Resource Recovery Facility’ at Huntworth, to take all of Somerset’s household rubbish that cannot be recycled and convert it into energy for powering 44,000 West Country homes, through the National Grid. The applicant says that the facility will remove tens of thousands of tonnes of rubbish from land-fill sites. The incinerator is already built, after permission was given in 2015. Since then the applicant has submitted a revised application for operating the facility – changing from gasification to conventional mass burn moving grate technology, and increasing the volume of production – so that further consultation is taking place.
Terry Ledlie, Chair of Yeovil Constituency Labour Party, said: “We are all getting fed up with the extremely long-running Covid restrictions, but we really do need one last push to beat the virus. The Labour Party supported the extension of the current restrictions until 19 July to allow more people to be vaccinated . I believe that this was a difficult but necessary step if we are to avoid the stop-start economy we have suffered during the past year. I was therefore very disappointed to see that our local MP voted against the restrictions. It has been widely reported that Mr Fysh wanted the government to adopt a regional approach. My view is that it would have been daft to set different rules here for just 28 days, especially as the number of confirmed Covid cases has been increasing again since the restrictions were relaxed in May. While Covid is still fairly rare in South Somerset , the number more than doubled last week. There were 40 new cases in the past week, compared with just 18 the week before. This is a sign that we have not quite won the battle yet.”