Saturday, May 06, 2017

Sinking Sales Show Brexit Storm Clouds Ahead - Gateshead Lib Dems

Figures showing UK retail sales had their biggest quarterly fall in seven years in March have sparked a warning from Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Blaydon, Dr Jonathan Wallace, that consumer spending is being hit by the fall in the value of the pound.

A fifth of the value was wiped off Sterling following the Brexit vote last year and this is now driving up prices in the shops. Inflation is now running at 2.3% while wages are rising 2.2%. Incomes are therefore starting to be squeezed.

Dr Wallace said, "Our economy has been sustained by consumer spending, based on substantial and unsustainable amounts of consumer debt. That now appears to be coming to an end.

"Consumers are being hit with a Brexit squeeze to living standards caused by rising prices and the falling pound.

"What the country needs is substantial investment to raise productivity, but this is being inhibited by all the uncertainty around a hard Brexit. This election is a chance to the change the direction of our country, prevent a hard Brexit and keep Britain in the single market."

“No Coalition Deals” - Wallace

In a message to voters in Blaydon constituency, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate, Dr Jonathan Wallace, said, “The Liberal Democrats will not enter into any coalition deal with either Theresa May’s Conservatives or Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party.

“On Thursday 8th of June, every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to change the direction of our country and stop a hard Brexit.

“Under no conditions can we sign up to Theresa May's Hard Brexit agenda; a hard Brexit will be a disaster for Britain. It risks crashing our economy and leaving us isolated on the global stage.

“And Jeremy Corbyn would be a disaster for the country - he has no plan for the country and our economy and he offers no leadership – as Labour leader, every time it has mattered he has given Theresa May a blank cheque on Brexit.”

Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said, “In this election, we're going to offer the British people a real alternative and a vision of a Britain that is open, tolerant and united. Together, we are going to elect more Liberal Democrat MPs and change the direction of our country.”

Liberal Democrats commit to maintaining a nuclear deterrent

The Liberal Democrat commitment to maintaining a credible nuclear deterrent has been welcomed by Dr Jonathan Wallace, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Blaydon.

The Liberal Democrat plans would end the current system of continuous-at-sea deterrence by employing a number of new measures, such as gaps in patrols and irregular patrolling patterns.
Such an approach would maintain the ability to surge to more frequent armed patrols, or drop down to a low-readiness posture if the security situation allows.

Dr Wallace’s backing for the policy followed confusing remarks by Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn about Labour’s policy, which differs from his personal position of being opposed to Britain’s independent deterrent. Mr Corbyn has made clear that if he were Prime Minister, he would never press the nuclear button.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said, “Our nuclear deterrent keeps us at the top table in this Post-Brexit world.  All this means that Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to be Prime Minister – he is a rare combination of being both weak and dangerous.

“If you say that you would never press the button, as Jeremy Corbyn seems to have suggested, that makes a mockery of having a deterrent or indeed sound defences.”

Dr Wallace said, “Liberal Democrats are strong internationalists. We are committed to NATO, the European Union and the United Nations. We believe that our safety and security as a country is best achieved through co-operating with the UK’s allies.

“That is why we are committed to maintaining a credible nuclear deterrent, because there is nothing to gain from walking away from the table and turning our back on those who rely on our protection.

"Our long term goal will always be a nuclear-free world, and we must use the UK's position to lead international efforts towards multilateral disarmament.”

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Lowrey's Lane car park

The Council has now decided to rebuild the wall at the bottom of Lowrey's Lane car park. The  wall  was  in  a  state  of  disrepair  for  a number  of  months  before  the  Council removed the collapsed bricks.

Councillor Daniel Duggan said: “This wall was never needed in the first place. Instead of rebuilding it every time it gets knocked down the  Council  should  just  remove  it.  It's disappointing  that  the Council  is  wasting money  rebuilding  this  wall  when  other priorities, like cleaner streets, need attention'”

Kells Lane Park

There have been reports of anti-social behavior happening in Kells Lane park at night. This has included vandalism and residents being verbally abused.

Lib Dem Councillros in Low Fell have raised this with the police who have been visiting the park daily. The Council has also said that they will lock the park each night.

Councillor Susan Craig said, “Kells Lane park is for the community's enjoyment  and  it's  important  we  keep  it  that  way.  We  would encourage everyone to report any anti-social behaviour to the police and the Council's community safety team on 433 2168 or by emailing communitysafety@gateshead.gov.uk”.

Making progress with Low Fell’s ponds?

The ponding between the Gateshead Arms and  Carters  Lodge  is  finally  being addressed. The drains have been unable to cope  with  anything  more  than  showers, making walking difficult and in icy weather, dangerous.

After  normal  rainfall,  dangerous  and unsightly ponds have remained for days. While some problems elsewhere on Durham Road were dealt with last year, engineers identified this area as requiring major work.

Lib Dem campaigner Frank  Hindle said,  “Councillors  and residents have been calling for action on the site for more than two years. It is about time that residents were able to walk on dry land after it rains and we hope that this work resolves the problem.”

Work started in early April, and was due to finish later in April, but has been extended into  May. Lib Dem Low Fel Councillors Daniel  Duggan  said  “We appreciate that this work has meant delays for motorists and bus passengers, but it really has been necessary”

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Gateshead Lib Dems announce candidates for General Election

Frank Hindle Jonathan Wallace Peter Maughan Apr 17


Liberal Democrats in Gateshead have announced their candidates for the snap general election. And they bring with them a combined total of 78 years of representing local people.

Frank Hindle, a former computing lecturer, has been chosen for Gateshead constituency. He was first elected to Gateshead Council in 1991 when he won his seat in Low Fell.  During his time as a Councillor this former Conservative/Labour marginal has become a Lib Dem election stronghold.

Frank served as a spokesperson on Health and Care issues before being Leader of the Opposition in Gateshead from 2011 to 2015. Frank stood down as a Councillor last year and since then has focussed his time on a range of other political and community initiatives.

Peter Maughan, a solicitor, has been selected for Jarrow which includes 2 wards from Gateshead: Pelaw and Heworth (won by the Lib Dems from Labour last year) and Wardley and Leam Lane. Peter was first elected to Gateshead Council in 1994 for Whickham North when he took the seat from Labour.

Jonathan Wallace, who lives the “good life” in Sunniside where he keeps goats, bees and chickens and grows his own food, has been chosen to fight Blaydon for the Liberal Democrats. Jonathan was first elected to Gateshead Council for Whickham South and Sunniside in 1987 when he won the seat from the Conservatives. He became Leader of the Opposition in 2015.

“Labour have taken our area for granted for too long,” said Frank. “We are going to give Labour a run for their money in Gateshead. Everyone knows that only the Lib Dems can mount a serious challenge to Labour’s dominance here.”

“As Lib Dem Councillors in Gateshead, we have shown how we will do the job of being local MPs,” said Jonathan. “We will keep in touch with residents and be accessible. We will keep residents informed and engaged.

“Labour have taken our area for granted for too long and we intend putting them out to grass so our area can have a strong voice in Parliament to oppose the Conservative government.”

“Labour have failed as an opposition to the Conservatives, never mind as an alternative government,” said Peter. “They even threw in their lot with the Conservatives when it came to fighting for Britain to stay in the Single Market, so vital for our manufacturing jobs in the North East.”

Photo above: Frank Hindle, Jonathan Wallace and Peter Maughan attached.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Jonathan off to flying start in Gateshead

Birtley action day Apr 17 2

Liberal Democrats in Blaydon Constituency have chosen Jonathan Wallace as their candidate in the election on 8th June.

And Jonathan is already off to a flying start as he battles to take the seat Labout have taken for granted for decades.

“Everyone knows that only the Lib Dems can beat Labour here,” said Jonathan, who is a councillor in the constituency.

“As MP for Blaydon, I will keep in touch with residents. I will be an active MP who fights hard for the interests of the people living here. Please vote for me on Thursday 8th June.”

  • Jonathan was first elected to Gateshead Council in 1987 at the age of 23, taking one of the last Conservative seats in the borough.
  • He has been Leader of the Opposition for 2 years.
  • He lives the “good life” in Sunniside, growing his own food and keeping bees, chickens and goats.
  • He is also an internet broadcaster and his videos have been viewed on YouTube 4 million times.
Photo above: Jonathan campaigning in Birtley with local Lib Dem campaigner Paul Elliott.

AEI Cables site put up for sale

Paul Elliott Nov 16 3

The former AEI Cables site in Birtley has been put on the market in a bid to find new owners to develop the location on Durham Road.

Earlier this year, the closure of the plant meant an end to 175 years of cable manufacturing by the company which claimed to be the oldest cable maker in the world.

Now, Birtley Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government and Gateshead Council to work together to ensure the site is brought back into use as soon as possible.

“The Government’s Business Department and Gateshead Council must work closely together to ensure a new buyer is found and brought back into use as soon as possible,” said Lib Dem campaigner Paul Elliott.


“The Conservative Government’s decision to leave the Single Market is adding to economic uncertainty so whatever assistance possible must be provided to bring back manufacturing and jobs to the site.”

Photo above: Lib Dem campaigner Paul Elliott outside the AEI Cables site in Birtley.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Lib Dem candidate responds to news of Dave Anderson’s retirement

Birtley Hustings Meeting Apr 15 1

Dr Jonathan Wallace, Liberal Democrat candidate for Blaydon, has sent his good wishes to Dave Anderson on his announcement of his retirement as Labour MP for the constituency.


“Dave has given 12 years of his life to serving the people of Blaydon as MP,” said Jonathan. “Regardless of politics, I know he always tried his best for our area and I would like to thank him for his many years of hard work.”

Photo above: Dave Anderson MP and Jonathan Wallace share a hustings platform during the 2015 general election campaign in Blaydon. On the right, Alison Griffiths, the Conservative candidate.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Increased penalties for flytippers

fly tipping Kindreds Wood Apr 16 1


Flytippers beware! At long last, Gateshead Council is to take action to tackle the scourge of illegal dumping of waste in public places by using new powers to fine offenders.

Anyone caught flytipping now faces a fixed penalty fine of £400. Fines for dropping litter are doubling to £100.

“At last, strong action is being taken by Gateshead Council,” said Lib Dem campaigner in Birtley, Paul Elliott. “Hopefully this will help to put an end to the appalling actions of a small minority of people who think it’s fine to dump their rubbish on the rest of us.”


In 2015-16 there were 10702 incidents of flytipping in Gateshead leaving council tax payers with a £570,216 clean up bill.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Labour starts Whickham Chase Park sell-off

Whickham Chase Park Mar 17


Gateshead Council’s all-Labour Cabinet have agreed to declare the old stable block, depot, former social services office and Rectory Lane entrance to Chase Park as “surplus to requirements.” This is the first step towards selling them off for house-building.

The plans are being fought by local Lib Dems who are concerned that the sale is the thin end of the wedge that could lead to other parts of the park being sold for housing.

Cllr Peter Maughan opposed the plans when they were discussed by the Cabinet. He argued that the original agreement with the former Whickham Council that saw the former Chase House become a public park in 1936 prevented any sale of the site for housing.

“I took the original agreement signed by Whickham Council to the cabinet meeting but it was clear Labour were not prepared to listen,” said Peter.


“I warned Labour councillors that there will be a huge legal battle ahead if they insist on pressing ahead with this terrible plan. Some things are sacrosanct. Clearly to Labour, Chase Park isn’t.”

Photo above: Lib Dem campaigners Sonya Hawkins, Peter Craig, Marilynn Ord, Peter Maughan, John McClurey, Kevin McClurey and Chris Ord outside the stable block in Chase Park which Labour wants to sell off for housing.