Sunday, January 15, 2017

Mayor Starkie says don't delay by-election

Copeland Mayor Mike Starkie has called on the Labour party not to delay the by-election due when Jamie Reed steps down as MP for Copeland and the end of this month.

The Labour MP is due to take a job at Sellafield at the start of February - days before the "Success Regime" publishes the results of the NHS consultation and a few weeks before they announce what they propose to do.

Traditionally the party which an outgoing MP represented decides when to "move the writ" and set in process the by-election for their replacement. So this means it would normally be Labour which decides when the election should be held.

According to the  News and Star Labour MP Andrew Gwynne, who is running Labour’s by-election campaign, has suggested that May 4 could be their preferred polling date.
Mr Gwynne is reported as saying:

“We’re planning for that as it’s better to plan for a long campaign and be pleasantly surprised than plan for a short campaign and then realise you’ve got to stretch your resources out for several months."

However Mr Starkie is reported in the same article to have said he would be extremely disappointed if the by-election is pushed into May.

"Irrespective of whatever anyone's political persuasion is in Copeland, this borough and its constituents need to be fully represented in the House of Commons and this by-election should take place no later than March 9th.

"There is no acceptable reason for it to be held any later," he said.


Anonymous said...

Enough taxpayers money is wasted in Copeland without holding two elections within months of each other.

Chris Whiteside said...

For a council seat in ordinary times I would agree with you.

These are not ordinary times - the Success Regime will publish the results of the consultation on the future of local hospitals a few days after Jamie Reed takes up his new job at Sellafield and then publish what they propose to do about it a few weeks after that.

Copeland needs an MP in post fighting for our hospitals at that time.

Anonymous said...

In one of the worlds richest countries, in a county that whose industry has been laid to waste on the back of the nuclear industry, should we really need to be "fighting for our hospitals"?

Chris Whiteside said...

Whether we should have to or not, it has been a fact under governments of every political colour that we do have to.

We live in an area which, although it has many enormous advantages such as being one of the most beautiful parts not just of the country but of the world, has very challenging geography from the viewpoint of providing public services. Whether it is health, schools, fire and public protection or policing, running these services in Cumbria is not as straightforward as it is in areas where the population is much more concentrated, with excellent roads and communication links, and no mountains or lakes in the way.

I'm not going to pretend that money is not a factor in the situation but recruiting and retaining key staff is a far more important aspect of making our health service safe, effective and sustainable.

As I have posted many times before, I strongly disagree with some of the Success Regime proposals particularly on Maternity and Children's services. But proposals like this would be coming forward even if the Health Trusts had much more money, until we sort out the issues of morale, recruitment and retention - which we must do.

Anonymous said...

When West Cumberland Hospital was set up it was recognised that the recruitment and retention of quality staff could be problem so put in place a training school for doctors as well as nurses. Unfortunately this was dismantled by your former glorious leader, and we are now reaping the rewards of that decision.

Now you (politicians) have put unaccountable quangos in charge, and you and your Labour colleagues will sit there blaming them.

It's supposed to be National Health Service, not a Nice to Have Service.

Clearly the NHS in west cumbria isn't safe in conservative hands.

Chris Whiteside said...

I agree that we need to make West Cumberland a Teaching Hospital again and I have been saying that for twelve years.

Furthermore, though the very welcome link with UCLAN, it is actually starting to happen.

One of the things I have been saying to the "success regime" is that they must make more of the excellent work being done with UCLAN to set up research and teaching positions in their recruiting publicity so as to persuade doctors and nurses that coming to WCH to work is a good career move.

The NHS is far, far too big to manage the whole thing as one national unit. There have always been local health boards of some kind - I served on one when they were called Health Authorities. I am in favour of making them as democratic and accountable as possible.