‘Politicalisation’ row deepens

Tom Norton
Tom Norton

A well known community figure in Fleetwood has vowed to fight what he calls the politicisation of the town council.

Tom Norton, chairman of the Fleetwood Development Partnership, joined in a row over claims that local Labour councillors were trying to get candidates onto the non-political town council.

It follows the production of a controversial leaflet by Labour’s Pharos ward Wyre councillors, entitled A Call to Arms?

Fleetwood Town Council chairman, Coun Alan Marsh, accused Coun Brian Stephenson of trying to mount a take over of the council, but the Labour member dismissed the claims as a storm in a teacup.

Mr Norton, who helped set up Fleetwood Town Council, blasted: “I will fight this attempt to politicise the town council until the day I die.

“When I was chairman of the Fleetwood Action Group and was trying to get the town council going, the Conservative and Labour leaders promised they would not enter candidates under the banner of their parties.

“As a person, I do not want to be considered a liar because I told the people of Fleetwood the independent council would be about issues in the town and never about party politics.

“The whole point was to have 13 independent councillors fighting for Fleetwood and working with the 13 Fleetwood councillors on Wyre council.

“To now have Labour trying to get its people on the council goes against the grain of what it was supposed to be, and I will fight this.”

The branch newsletter, printed by Coun Stephenson, encourages residents to join the local Labour party and consider standing for election.

Coun Stephenson argued there were already members sitting on the council who had political affiliations, but he said he wasn’t implying anyone joining Labour should stand under the party ticket.