Letters, Monday, April 16th, 2012

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Labour Party’s ‘special guests’

IN his letter “PM’s guests”, W. Quinn states of guests to Downing Street apparently they never took the opportunity to influence the Prime Minister’s decision-making (Letters, April 6).

Well speculation and innuendo are okay, but how about what we know as fact re his Labour heroes.

Bernie Ecclestone was involved in a political scandal when it transpired he had given the Labour Party a £1million donation – which raised eyebrows when the incoming Labour government changed its policy to allow Formula One to continue being sponsored by tobacco manufacturers. The Labour Party returned the donation.

In 1998 Peter Mandelson, Trade and Industry Secretary, resigned after failing to disclose a £373,000 loan from Paymaster General Geoffrey Robinson.

Then in 2001 we had Keith Vaz, Peter Mandelson and the Hinduja brothers. Mandelson was forced to resign again due to misleading statements.

In November 2007, it emerged that more than £400,000 had been accepted by the Labour Party from one person through a series of third parties, causing the Electoral Commission to seek an explanation. Peter Watt resigned as the General Secretary.

Ed Miliband has had eight formal meetings or dinners with Len McCluskey, the Unite General Secretary, since he was elected Labour leader in September 2010. McCluskey and fellow union leaders dominate a list published by Labour of all 43 meetings and dinners that Miliband had had with trade union bosses and individuals who have given large sums to the party. What did they get in exchange for the £5million given to Labour since they made Miliband leader?

As for W. Quinn’s disparaging remarks about alleged influence over the 50p tax rate, Mr Quinn should pay attention to his Labour lot in Parliament. Ed Balls stated quite clearly that Labour “will vote against the 50p change”. Well every Labour MP but two abstained in the vote. There’s commitment and integrity for you.

Keith O’Brien, Conservative candidate, Millfield

Ridiculous ward

ON Wednesday, April 11, the Echo’s council election special visited Copt Hill Ward at the Racecourse Estate. Copt Hill Ward was originally called Eppleton Ward but complaints were made that Eppleton was really part of Hetton and had nothing in common with most of the rest of the ward, which is based round Houghton and reaches down to Herrington Burn.

The solution decided by the council was to call it Copt Hill Ward instead, but it doesn’t alter the fact that Copt Hill Ward covers part of Eppleton, part of Houghton, part of Newbottle, part of success right down to Herrington Burn and these are all really part of Houghton.

Newbottle School is in Houghton Ward, and Shiney Row College is in Copt Hill Ward.

Surely a ward should have some sort of centralisation. Copt Hill Ward is ridiculous. Who thought it up in the first place?

Joyce Dixon, Cathedral View, Newbottle

Grand month

YET again the generosity of the North East public has been proved to be boundless in donations to the Grace House Children’s Hospice Appeal. Almost £1,240 has been raised over the last four Saturdays.

On March 17, £240.77 was given at a small Sainsburys store in Stockton, followed by £291.66 at Asda Living in Durham on March 24. On March 31, I felt privileged to hand over £404.36 on behalf of customers at Dalton Park. This is by far the most I have collected at Dalton Park.

I feel that the “sympathy factor” played a major role because the weather, after six consecutive days of warm sunshine, was proverbially “brass monkeys”. It was three days before I warmed through!

Finally, on April 7, £300.97 was given by the customers at Clays Garden Centre at Washington. As well as thanking the customers, I wish to thank Mr Clay, his manager Richard Cain and all the staff for their personal financial donations as well as their hospitality.

It is truly a pleasure to meet thousands of lovely people and I feel privileged to be a voluntary fund-raiser for Grace House. God bless you all. (I continue to tolerate that idiotic clown).

Jeff Coxon, Lawnside, Seaham

Save service

THEY say wash hands to control germs in hospitals. What about the human “germs” in the government and councillors trying to get rid of their white elephant, a building in Houghton?

They are closing a perfectly good health centre in Grindon, where they have good doctors, nurses and staff.

Please, people, look after your NHS. Don’t let anyone destroy it.

Doreen Oliver, Cotswold Road, Hylton Castle