Underhand tactics claim in Boundary Commission review

From the Slough Observer:

A LEADING councillor has issued a stinging response after accusations of underhand tactics in an election boundary review.

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The controversial new Slough ward boundaries have been published by the independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE). The changes, which include making Foxborough a one-member ward, riled opposition councillors who claim deputy leader, Cllr James Swindlehurst, ‘reneged’ on an agreement to recommend a cross-party proposal.

The Labour Group set-up a team, including Cllr Swindlehurst, council leader Cllr Rob Anderson, former Tory leader Peter Dale-Gough and former Lib Dem Cllr Duncan Buchanan, to agree a plan backed by all parties.

However, after four months of talks, Cllr Swindlehurst and Mr Dale-Gough made a deal privately in September last year.

They agreed to put forward a motion at a council meeting in the same month, but it ended in controversy when no opposition councillors voted in favour.

Cllr Swindlehurst said:

Peter and his wife [Cllr Diana Coad] had left for a cruise and not commanded their troops. We were left with a lesser quality report, which the Labour Group had compromised on, just to achieve a cross-party vote and still we were the only group that voted for it.

He then submitted the original Labour Party recommendations to the LGBCE. The Conservatives also filed a last-minute report.

Mr Dale-Gough said:

Cllr Swindlehurst was annoyed and reneged on our agreement, which we didn’t know about.

He also claimed the Labour proposals move the council leader’s house outside his Britwell ward and added:

The area he lives in is moving to Haymill – after claiming in his election campaign he was ‘coming home’.

Cllr Anderson, who was previously de-selected by his party in Farnham ward and forced to stand in Britwell, said:

The commissions remit is to achieve electoral equality, a number of councillors will be moved as a result but that is immaterial.

The final recommendationis that Slough should have 42 councillors – an additional one – split into 13 three-member wards, one two-member ward (Colnbrook with Poyle) and one single-member ward (Foxborough).

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