The Labour Party has been caught using the town hall to produce election leaflets for a Middlesborough Council by-election. The North Ormesby & Brambles Farm by-election is this Thursday. Our candidate David Crosby (only 18) is running a very energetic campaign in what is seen as a safe Labour seat. The imprint on the Labour leaflets shows the Town Hall address:
After the leader of the Conservative Group Cllr Chris Hobson complained, the council gave the Labour Party the green light to continue arguing all the political groups would be allowed to use the Town Hall print leaflets providing it was on their own printer/risograph. However, this arrangement is tantamount to using taxpayers’ equipment, which against both the council’s code of conduct and the national code of conduct that governs councillor behaviour.
The council’s code of conduct states:
All Members must, when using the Council's resources, or authorising the use of Council resources by others:
ensure that Council resources are not used for political purposes (unless doing so could reasonably be regarded as likely to facilitate or be conducive to the discharge of the functions of the Council, or of the office to which a Member has been elected or appointed).”
The Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) Order 2007 also states councillors must:
(b) when using or authorising the use by others of the resources of your authority—
(ii) ensure that such resources are not used improperly for political purposes (including party political purposes);
It cannot be right that the Town Hall can be used for Party political purposes. Even if we suppose that the equipment being used to print the leaflets is Labour Party owned – what about rental costs, the
electricity and the heating. Moreover, a Party HQ also needs computers and telephones.
Shouldn’t the Middlesbrough and South Tees Labour Party have an office somewhere to do all of this?