Dear Sir,

In the recent Woodham by-election, the LibDem candidate, Michael Stead, campaigned on a platform that Labour was ‘neglecting’ the ward.

Sedgefield Constituency Labour Party was distressed by this campaign because the only Labour county councillor in Aycliffe North – Cllr John D Clare – is an exceptionally hard-working councillor.

(1) IN MARCH, THEREFORE, the CLP put a Freedom of Information Request to Durham County Council which returned that, since the elections in 2017, Cllr Clare had submitted 463 service requests reporting issues in the ward … compared to just 20 submitted by his two Conservative county councillor colleagues together.

(2) LOOKING FURTHER, AT THE COUNCIL MEETINGS the three councillors had attended, we found that, in the period May-December 2019:

• Conservative Cllr Scott Durham attended 3 out of a possible 15 scheduled meetings (20%),

• Conservative Cllr Paul Howell attended 8 out 13 (61%),

• Cllr Clare attended all 17 of his scheduled meetings, and also 8 extra committee meetings (147%).

(3) FINALLY, CORONAVIRUS HAS CHANGED COUNCIL SERVICES, so last week we submitted another FoI request, asking how many service requests the councillors had submitted in the period March-June 2020 – i.e. during the lockdown.

The figures returned were:

• Cllr Clare: 86

• Cllr Durham: 0

• Cllr Howell: 0

• Cllr Stead: 0

This shows that – whilst the other councillors stopped reporting problems – Cllr Clare’s workrate increased during the lockdown.

Sedgefield CLP believes that these figures prove that Labour and Cllr Clare have been working hard for Aycliffe North & Middridge ward.

Sedgefield CLP Campaigns Team