Call for ‘Doxford debate’ ahead of Sunderland elections

Coun.'s Robert Oliver (left) and Dominic McDonough in Doxford Park, Sunderland.
Coun.'s Robert Oliver (left) and Dominic McDonough in Doxford Park, Sunderland.
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A SUNDERLAND election hopeful has called for a public debate between those looking for votes in Doxford – claiming that most people do not know who their councillors are.

Tory candidate Dominic McDonough’s campaign has seen him carry out a door-to-door survey, which he says has shown that nearly all of those he asked have no idea who represents them at the Civic Centre.

Mr McDonough says the event would take the form of a structured debate, chaired by an independent host.

Members of the public would be invited to submit written questions and there would be time at the end for responses and answers from the floor.

He said: “While campaigning I have been doing a door-to-door survey, this has shown that a shocking 93 per cent of people in Doxford don’t know who their local councillors are. It’s a perfect opportunity to reverse this.”

Mr McDonough said he had approached Doxford ward councillors Betty Gibson and Christine Marshall, but said he had yet to hear back.

When approached by the Echo, Coun Marshall said: “It’s not something I want to discuss.”

Coun Gibson said: “I doubt the value and interest of a formal stage-managed debate about Doxford ward issues. I would advise Mr McDonough to lay out his ideas in a traditional newsletter and listen carefully to people’s concerns on the doorstep. This is the best way to reach the public and voters.”

The Green Party’s Alan Robinson said he was “still thinking about it”, while at the time of going to press. The LibDems had yet to field a candidate for Doxford.