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Press Release
 
North East No Campaign
Monday 4th October
 
Yes Campaign Embarassed by 'Part-time' Assembly.
"All aboard the Gravy Train"
 
 
Now we know why former Olympic champion, Brendan Foster has been taken on by the Yes Campaign...to teach them all how to run from difficult questions.Even the great Brendan Foster admits that he doesn't know too much about the substance of the proposed Assembly.
 
Well, just to help him out let him see this...
 
The big secret is out. The one that had to be kept from the public for as long as possible.
 
The one that would hole the ship below the waterline....
 
An Assembly which is going to transform the North East...
An Assembly which will bring jobs and prosperity...
An Assembly which will attract a new breed of politician...
An Assembly which will be a new form of 'governance'...
 
...where the politicians elected will only work THREE DAYS A WEEK!
 
Neil Herron states, "I am sure that the North East public will have their cynicism endorsed by this information. No wonder the details have been kept quiet. Is it any wonder that it appears as though the North East's current political establishment are in favour? And when the public find out that a sitting Assembly member can ALSO be a councillor, MEP or MP as well they will be even more suspicious of this party political project. The queue for seats on the Assembly gravy train will be stretching from Berwick to Redcar. When they also find out that it will be the Assembly members that decide the salary structures of Assembly members they will look at the spectre of council tax rises to pay for the part-time great and good in their new political playground and deliver a very loud no. No wonder Brendan Foster wishes to ignore the details. If he knew the real facts he would probably run an Emsley Carr mile."
 
We would appreciate commentary from the Yes Campaign as to exactly how part-time politicians will create the new North East.
 
We would also appreciate clarification from Yes4theNorthEast as to the true nature of the voting system as it is most certainly not PR as dishonestly described.
 
ENDS
 
Neil Herron
Campaign Director
North East No Campaign
Frederick Street
Sunderland
SR1 1NF
www.northeastnocampaign.co.uk
Tel. 0191 565 7143
Mob.07776 202045
 
Notes to Editors:
 
References:
 
Draft Regional Assemblies Bill (Page 21 Section 35)
 
35 Members Salaries and Allowances
(1) An assembly must pay a salary to each member of the assembly in accordance with -
(a) a decision adopted by the assembly from time to time, or
(b) before the first decision, a direction given by the Secretary of State.
 
'Policy and Procedure Guidance to the Electoral Commission' and section 6 states, "...Furthermore, it is expected that the Assembly's executive and chair will be full time and paid accordingly, whilst it is expected that the remaining members will work around three days a week and will receive a salary of two-thirds that of the assembly and chair."
 



Sunday, September 26, 2004

Judicial Review Papers Lodged : The North East voters must be told the truth about what is really on offer

The papers were lodged at the Royal Courts of Justice at 3.11pm on Friday 24th September calling for a Judicial Review of the Government's decision not to correct the misleading and factually incorrect statements in the 'Have Your Say' leaflet which went out to 1,900,000 voters.

Full story click here


Press Release
 
North East No Campaign
 
10 am 24th September...2004
 
IMMEDIATE
 
High Court Writ to be Served on Deputy Prime Minister by No Campaign
 
Following the notice served on the Rt. Hon Nick Raynsford yesterday and the failure of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to take any positive action to correct the factually incorrect leaflet 'Have Your Say' for all 1,900,000 voters in the North East Referendum, the North East No Campaign has been left with no choice but to launch an action in the High Court today.
 
Lawyers have prepared an application in the public interest for an emergency Injunction with papers to be lodged today at the Royal Courts of Justice. A writ will be served on John Prescott's Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
 
Letters of objection requesting a full correction of the leaflet have been ignored by the ODPM, the Audit Commission and the Electoral Commission, leaving the No Campaign with no choice but to take this drastic and high profile step. The urgency is due to the fact that a partial correction is due to go out to only 220,000 households in the North East on Monday 27th September, yet the errors affect all 1,900,000 voters.
 
Lawyers at Cherie Blair's former chambers, 4-5 Grays Inn Square, Grays Inn, yesterday put Rt Hon Nick Raynsford on notice that the No Campaign would be taking this action. To see the copy of the notice click here.
 
The No Campaign's lawyers received a fax last night at 5.15pm from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister requesting more time, and they have lawyers working on a response.
 
The papers will be lodged by Neil Herron and Colin Moran of the North East No Campaign along with their legal representatives at 2pm today at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand, London (bringing back memories of the Metric Martyrs Case and ironically this time the people putting the Government before the courts rather than vice versa).
 
Neil Herron states, " We have given the Deputy Prime Minister repeated opportunities to address the factually incorrect statement which gives  the impression that people will be elected under proportional representation. Also, the partial correction addressing the incorrect cost figure for local government reorganisation has been admitted BUT there needs to be a correction for everyone who received the leaflet, not just County Durham. The people across the whole of the North East cannot be expected to vote on the North East's future based on a misleading document. We do not wish to jeopardise the referendum, but a decision affecting ours and our children's future cannot be made without everyone having the correct information."
 
Colin Moran states, " The clock is ticking and we are aware that their lawyers are urgently working on a response to attempt to avoid court action. We hope that respect for the North East public's right to be informed and that a common sense solution would be in the best interests of everyone."
 
ENDS
 
Neil Herron
Campaign Director
North East No Campaign
48 Frederick Street
Sunderland
SR1 1NF
Tel. 0191 565 7143
 
http://www.northeastnocampaign.co.uk
  
 
Contacts
Neil Herron
Mob. 07776 202045
 
Colin Moran
Mob. 07802 448 635
 
Legal Representatives:
Tilbrook's, Quires Green, Willingale, Ongar, Essex CM5 0QP
Tel: 01277 896000  Fax: 01277 896050
 
Counsel:
Philip Coppel
4-5 Gray's Inn Square, Gray's Inn, London WC1R 5AH
Tel:    020 - 7670 1530 (direct)    

Latest news from Referendum Campaign in the North East 
please click here
 
For the arguments and information please visit
www.northeastnocampaign.co.uk
 
For breaking news and speculation please visit
 
www.neilherron.blogspot.com
 
To support the campaign please click here
 
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Rest of the stories in full below....

Newcastle Evening Chronicle

Why they say NO
Sep 23 2004
By Peter Young, The Evening Chronicle

A poster campaign aimed at persuading people to vote against a North East Assembly was launched today.

Posters will be appearing on billboards at between 25 and 50 sites across the region in the run-up to the referendum on November 4.

Meanwhile, leaders of the North East Says No campaign challenged Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott to provide every voter with copies of the Government's draft Assemblies Bill.

They say this will enable voters to see for themselves what is proposed and cut through the arguments over whether people are being misled.

The key arguments of the business-led No campaign are that an assembly will lead to higher council taxes, will not give more power to local people and will create more professional politicians.

Leaders were in Durham today to officially launch their campaign with the slogan "Politicians talk. We pay".

Papers for the all-postal referendum will start going out to voters on October 18.
The No campaign has a council of around 100 members, mainly from business, and the coalition also includes teachers, doctors, academics and farmers.

Its plan is to mail every voter and business and target teachers and doctors.

Any assembly is expected to be based in Durham, with 25 elected members representing people across Tyne & Wear, Northumberland, County Durham and Teesside. A tier of local government in Northumberland and County Durham would be axed.

Businessman John Elliott, chairman of manufacturers Ebac and chairman of North East Says No, said: "The Yes campaign are trying to claim that creating 25 extra professional politicians will give local people more power.
"That's obviously not true and it will just lead to higher council tax. We will be getting this message across with posters, billboards, leaflets and public meetings.

"I am confident that when people realise what's on offer in this referendum they will vote no."
Ian Dormer, director of Rosh Engineering in Newcastle, said: "A regional assembly will not give local people more control and London will still stay in control over the things that really matter like jobs, health and education.

"All an assembly will do is create more professional politicians and lead to higher council tax. It will just be politics as usual for the North East."
**********
Yes view
Supporters say an elected North East Assembly would have the power to improve the lives of people across the region.

They say an assembly would enable decisions to be taken by elected representatives in the North East rather than by civil servants 280 miles away in Whitehall.

Prof John Tomaney, chairman of the Yes campaign, said it would have wide-ranging powers on jobs, transport, skills, housing, planning and public health.

"It will have responsibility for setting the budget of the regional development agency, providing funding, approving its strategy and appointing its chair and board members," he said.
"An assembly would have considerable freedom to allocate funds according to regional priorities."

Today's Letters

LETTER IN NEWCASTLE JOURNAL
22nd September 2004
Elected Assembly will undermine local government
As a recently elected member of the London Assembly, I strongly urge thevoters of the North East to vote No to a similar body in the North East.

The setting up of regional assemblies is a deliberate fraud, designed togive the impression that decisions will be taken closer to them, when infact the whole thing is an exercise in weakening local control andgiving more power to central and Brussels government.

The Mayor andAssembly in London is a body which administers large budgets and whichsimply carries out orders from afar. We are effectively elected civilservants with limited scrutiny powers and no power over legislation.On everything from Congestion Charging to the micro detail of local policy, we depend upon Brussels or Westminster diktat. We have just lost our traditional London buses because of a Brussels ruling.

If you do vote Yes, you will not be voting for local decision making. You will be voting to strengthen centralised decision making in London and Brussels,with a team of 25 ineffective politicised local scrutineers runningalong in the wake with neither the resources nor the will to effectivelychallenge threats to local interests.That is no substitute for effective local government.

The foundation stone at London's City Hall which I pass every day bears the inscription"home of London Government". Some "Government". I call it the BlarneyStone, but I am not tempted to kiss it.
Damian HockneyLeader,
UK Independence Party Group London Assembly
City Hall
LONDON
SE1 2AA
Tel 020 7983 4883

What price information? What price democracy?

£1m Assembly bill demand
Sep 23 2004
By Ross Smith And Daniel Cochlin, The Journal

The group fighting against a North-East regional assembly has called on John Prescott to spend £1m of public money sending the draft bill to every voter in the region.

To read the full story
click here (worth it for the picture of Prescott)

Lib Dems Say Government "Fumbled" and "stuttered"

Lib Dems urged to push for regional assemblies
Hélène Mulholland in Bournemouth
Wednesday September 22, 2004
The government has "fumbled" and "stuttered" over its campaign for regional government, Lib Dem local government spokesman, Ed Davey, said today.

Speaking on the fourth day of the Liberal Democrat annual conference, Mr Davey said his party should seize the opportunity to rescue the "yes" campaign "to show it's about trusting the people of the north east, not about Labour."

Boasting of their recent electoral success in the north-east local authority bastion of Newcastle, where the Liberal Democrats wrested the council leadership from Labour after a 30-year tenure, Mr Davey told conference that an elected regional government was the only way to eliminate the 170 unelected quangos choking the north-east.

"A 'yes' vote is the only way to start to sweep aside this and put people in charge," he said. "But once again, New Labour stuttered when they needed to be bold, allowing John Prescott to fumble the case for regional democracy. But we must still win that vote."

Mr Davey also seized the opportunity to reframe his commitment to axing the property-based council tax and replacing it with a local income tax, as a Liberal Democrat "tax cut".
"We believe tax is necessary, and when it's necessary, it must be fair," he said. "This will be a major tax cut - delivered by Liberal Democrats.

A tax cut for families on modest incomes, a tax cut for pensioners, and for the majority of households. Our plans mean nearly nine out of 10 pensioners will gain - over half will end up paying no local tax at all."
 

Northern Echo 23rd September... Councils take Legal Advice

Legal action on assembly leaflet starts
by
Tony Kearney

Legal action: Neil Herron
CAMPAIGNERS against the proposed elected North-East Assembly will file papers in London's High Court tomorrow calling for a judicial review of a controversial Government information leaflet.

The North-East No campaign, led by former Metric Martyr Neil Herron, is embarking on legal action over the Your Say leaflet, which was issued by the Office for the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) to the 1.9 million people in the region eligible to vote in November's referendum.

The Government admitted the controversial leaflet contained a factual error over the relative costs of local government reorganisation in County Durham if the region votes in favour of an assembly.

It agreed to spend more than £100,000 sending clarification notices to all the 220,000 households in the county.

However, the North-East No campaign said the correction should be sent to everyone who received the original leaflet, at a cost expected to be almost £1m.

The release of government information has emerged as an increasingly contentious issue in the referendum campaign over the past few days.

Earlier this week, North East Says No -the official opposition to the referendum -lodged a complaint with the Electoral Commission over the wording of the preamble to appear on the ballot paper, while Durham County Council was recently advised by the ODPM to remove its logo from its advertising.

North East No is seeking clarification of the date for the beginning of purdah -the period leading up to an election in which government groups are prevented from issuing information that could be viewed as supporting one side or another.

The Government's position is that purdah will begin on October 7, four weeks before the vote is declared, but Mr Herron is arguing that the purdah should already be under way because it is less than four weeks until the ballot papers are issued.

The increasingly tense atmosphere in which the referendum campaign is being conducted was highlighted yesterday, when the Association of North-East Councils, the group that represents the region's 25 councils, postponed the release of an anticipated statement on the proposed location of the assembly.

In July, 13 of the association's members called for the assembly to be based in Durham City, and a statement outlining the views of the entire membership was expected to emerge when the group met yesterday in Newcastle Civic Centre.

However, chairman Councillor Bob Gibson, the leader of Stockton Borough Council, said that in light of the complaint being lodged by Mr Herron, the release of the statement was to be postponed until the association could take further legal advice. 

Regional Organisers Letters

Berwick Advertiser
21st September
Government has made misleading statements over regional assembly
SIR,
— The Government has made misleading statements in its ‘Have Your Say’ leaflet, delivered to every household in the north east prior to the referendum on a regional assembly.

In particular, it says that there will be around 25 elected members — ‘they would be elected — as in Scotland, Wales and London — by a system of proportional representation to help prevent domination by a single party and to help ensure a balance of opinion’.

Sounds fine, but an examination of the actual Bill shows that the picture is very different. There will in fact be ‘constituency members’ and ‘regional members’ and all the constituency members will be elected on the ‘first past the post’ system, by simple majority. “The constituency members will make up the majority”.

In other words, the same old party domination will be very evident. If any independent does try to stand for election he or she is going to face an uphill struggle unless he or she is very wealthy. How, for example, could an individual canvas or leaflet 1.9 million voters and have any hope of being elected as a regional representative under PR?
So much for the Government’s ‘information’campaign.
JOHN PEARSON,
North East No Campaign,
Berwick Area Co-ordinator. via e-mail.

Sunderland Echo News 23rd September

'North East can make it work'
LABOUR party boss Ian McCartney has urged voters to say Yes in the North East assembly referendum.
He was visiting Sunderland to meet city councillors in the run-up to the big vote.Mr McCartney, party chairman, was also following up a promise to visit the city again after he met councillors in the run-up to this year's local and European elections.

He was speaking as Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy announced he was in favour of an assembly while UKIP Euro MEP Robert Kilroy-Silk said it should be a No vote.

Wearing a Yes campaign badge on his suit lapel, Mr McCartney said the referendum was a chance for people to have a greater say in shaping the future of the North East.He is MP for the North West constituency of Makerfield and said he was "disappointed" when plans there for a referendum were pulled earlier this year.He said: "The assemblies are about sticking up for ourselves, making things happen, giving regions a stronger voice and having more confidence in ourselves."

Mr McCartney remained confident, however, that referendums would go ahead in the North West and in Yorkshire and Humberside.The idea behind a North East assembly of 25 members, that could be based in Durham, is to give it spending and planning powers in areas such as transport, economic development and public health which are currently held by civil servants.

No campaigners believe, though, that it will be a "talking shop" with no real power and add another layer of Government to the North East.

Mr McCartney said: "Assembly powers are coming from central Government, not local government and are a chance for the region to speak up for itself."We are always being told by the No campaign that an assembly will not influence Government. That message breeds cynicism and despair. The Yes message is a positive campaign about having pride in communities."There's £1billion spent every year by Government departments here in the region, or on behalf of the region, but when the No campaign says we don't want, or have to have regional government, we already have it and this is about making it more accountable."I am confident the North East can make it work. "

Voters are getting ballot packs in the middle of next month and the referendum result is expected to be announced at midnight on Thursday, November 4.

Assembly leaflet misleading, says Herron
NORTH East No campaigners were holding last-minute talks with lawyers before lodging a judicial review at the High Court tomorrow.

Neil Herron, campaign spokesman, said "misleading information" had been put out by the Government in the run up to the referendum.

He said the Government was already writing to voters in County Durham correcting a mistake over the cost of local reorganisation and it should do the same for the rest of the North East.

There were also other questions and differences in the Your Say leaflet and the assembly that was published in July. This was over future rules and how members might be elected.

Mr Herron added: "We want to make it abundantly clear that we wish the referendum to go ahead. "It is not our intention to force a postponement."

A spokeswoman from the ODPM said the Durham information was being corrected with a separate mailshot to voters and it stood by the rest of the Your Say leaflet.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

NESNO gets a headline! Well done.

£1m Assembly bill demand
Sep 23 2004
By Ross Smith And Daniel Cochlin, The Journal


The group fighting against a North-East regional assembly has called on John Prescott to spend £1m of public money sending the draft bill to every voter in the region.

Opponents last night condemned the idea as a waste of money, but North East Says No claimed the move would clear up arguments about how much power the assembly would have.
It would cost more than £1m to send the draft Regional Assemblies Bill, which is 223 pages thick, to the region's 1.9 million voters.

Nesno, which has opposed the assembly on the grounds of cost, claims the price is worth paying to prevent the referendum being mired in claims of misinformation.

Both Nesno and Neil Herron's North East No Campaign have raised questions about the wording of a Government information leaflet sent out across the North-East and the preamble to the referendum question on ballot papers. They believe it made the assembly sound more powerful than would actually be the case.

In a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister, Nesno chairman John Elliott wrote: "Given that there has been so much controversy surrounding the actions of the Government during this referendum we believe that the Government needs to take action to reassure voters that it is committed to a fair vote. North East Says No strongly believes that the best way the Government can demonstrate this commitment is by sending the full copy of the Draft Regional Assemblies Bill to every voter in the region.

"This will allow them to make up their own minds about what is being offered."

He said Europe Minister Denis MacShane's suggestion of sending a copy of the EU constitution to every household before a public vote on that issue should be a model for referendums.

A campaign spokesman added: "We're confident the `yes' campaign would support this as it would help people to make an informed choice - people would be able to judge whether we're right on what the assembly would lead to, or whether the `yes' campaign is right.
"It would send out completely the wrong signal to North-East voters if the Government refused."

But Yes4theNorthEast chairman John Tomaney said: "The North-East public have a right to hear and read as much information as possible about a regional assembly, but it is not a sensible use of over £1m of taxpayers' money to send out a copy of the draft bill to every house in the region.
"It is ironic that the No campaign is now so keen on demanding information from the Government when it couldn't find a single person from the North-East to present its views on the Bill to the Parliamentary Select Committee discussing it."

Neil Herron, whose rival anti-assembly campaign lost out to Nesno in the race to secure Government campaign funding, said he wanted the public to be informed but sending out the entire draft bill would be a waste.
He said: "There are only three or four points which the voters need explaining - it would be ideal for everybody to read the draft bill but they are not going to."

Moe correspondence from the public

Dear Sir,

I am an ardent NO supporter in the forthcoming referendum on the NE Assembly.
I am not surprised by the stupid revelation, by NESNO, that each household should receive a copy of the draft Assembly Bill.

After the rejection, by the Government, of Neil Herron (NEARA) in favour of the ‘johnny come lately’ NESNO chaired by John Elliott, I suspect that some of NESNO’s troops are perhaps YES campaigner’s in disguise, who like Saul on the road to Damascus will have a remarkable conversion, just before the ballot, to the Yes camp.

At the end of July I downloaded from the official government website the aforementioned draft Bill (free of charge, not the cost of £25.75 as quoted in the purple information booklet).
The website is as follows, and can be transferred to 5 floppy discs,or a recordable CD

www.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm62/6285/6285.pdf

(it is 236 pages long and 6.7mb).

for those without a computer on the internet, then all local libraries now have computers that can access the internet and just take the necessary discs with you for transferring the info.

I suggest Mr Eliott (NESNO) you identify the person(s) who thought up this nonsense. As Neil Herron says there are only a few points that need explaining to the public, especially the fact that the majority of the Bill refers to the legal establishment of Regional Development Agencies and Consortiums by the Assembly (these are quangos to be paid for by the local taxpayers in the NE region instead of Central Govt. but will nevertheless be under the ultimate control of Central Government)

D.Green

East Herrington

Sunderland

Audit Commission adds nothing ;-)

Dear Mr Sayers,
Thank you for your letter of 21 September, acknowledging the complaint which I made on 7 September to your Newcastle office.

I made a further complaint to that office on 16 September, raising additional specific issues of inaccuracy/ommission in the ODPM's "Have Your Say" leaflet.

In case my further complaint has not yet been forwarded to you, I set out the text below.

Copies of both my letters have been sent to the ODPM and to the Electoral Commission.

In view of the imminenece of the referendum, and the seriousness of the situation, legal advice is being taken to determine the appropriate course of action.I shall be much obliged for your early reply.
Yours sincerely,
Judith Wallace
Chairman
North East No Campaign

16th September 2004
Dear Sir,
Referendum on a Regional Assembly in the North East
I refer to my letter to you dated 7th September, asking you to investigate my complaint about the money wrongly spent by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, issuing advertisements and leaflets which are inaccurate and misleading and which promote a particular political view.

Two further inaccuracies have now come to light;
both are contained in the leaflet entitled "Have Your Say", which I enclosed with my original letter:

1.On the page headed "A new opportunity for the North East", there is a section entitled "How would the new elected assembly operate?"

It reads"The Government intends that a North East assembly would consist of around 25 elected members to represent different views and parts of the region. They would be elected - as in Scotland, Wales and London - by a system of proportional representation to help prevent domination by a single party."

This is a lie.

The Draft Regional Assemblies Bill, section 3,states that an assembly is to consist of both constituency members and regional members; the constituency members will be members for electoral areas (known as constituencies) within the region, whilst the regional members will be members for the whole region.

Section 10 states that "each constituency member of an assembly is to be returned under the simple majority system".

In the Explanatory Notes, point number 15,it states that "the precise division between the number of each type of elected member would be decided by an order of the Secretary of State but it is expected that the constituency members would make up the majority"; thus, in other words, the bulk of the members will be elected on the first-past-the post system, not by proportional representation.

The statements in the leaflet are untrue.

2. The second additional accuracy relates to the part of the leaflet which covers local government reorganisation in County Durham. (In Northumberland and Durham, voters will be asked in the referendum a second question on the alteration of the current system).

Two options are given to the voters, A and B, and the leaflet states that the Government will pay the upfront costs; "these costs should be less than £37 million for option A and £38 million for option B".

This is a lie.

It has now come to light that the costs for option B will actually be £47 million. The electorate is being asked to vote on the basis of incorrect information.These are further examples of the misuse of taxpayers' money: please investigate.
Yours faithfully
Mrs J. A. Wallace

National Audit Office3rd FloorHigham HouseNew Bridge Street WestNewcastle-Upon-TyneNE1 8AU
Cc The Electoral Commission

 
 

Press Release
North East No Campaign
 
Alleged 'illegal' Actions by Government as North East Electorate misled by 'Information' Leaflet. Referendum now in chaos.
 
IMMEDIATE
 
The North East No Campaign has lodged an official complaint with the Audit Commission, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Electoral Commission over the blatantly biased and misleading 'Your Say' Government Information Leaflet.
 
Preparations are now being made for a legal challenge to have the Leaflet withdrawn should the Government not act and fail to have the 'misleading statements' rectified to avoid the North East public voting in a referendum after being misinformed. We are awaiting responses from the Audit Commission, the Electoral Commission and the Office of Depty Prime Minister before embarking on the legal challenge.
 
However, the referendum would possibly have to be cancelled because, according to the Electoral Commission, we are now in the 'Purdah Period' where the Government cannot put further information into the public domain.
Douglas Stewart, Head of Referendums, confirmed, "the purdah period commences 28 days prior to the first ballot papers going out on the 18th October." The Electoral Commission confirmed this to be the case at a series of roadshows across the region.
This conflicts with information being given by the ODPM and GONE who now state the purdah period begins on 7th October.
 
Neil Herron states, "the North East public have been deliberately misled by this Government leaflet. It is not acceptable for the North East public to be making a decision which will affect future generations based on blatant misinformation. We cannot see how, in such circumstances, the referendum could proceed, but we hope that it does because we expect a loud, resounding 'NO' from people who have been treated in such a disgraceful, contemptuous manner."
 
Taking aside the blatant negative portrayal of those saying 'No' in the photographs we need to look at the following statements...
 
"They (the assembly members) would be elected - as in Scotland, Wales and London - by a system of proportional representation to help prevent domination by a single political party..."
 
However...
 
The Draft Regional Assemblies Bill states, "A number of members (constituency members) would be elected for constituencies on the traditional 'first past the post' method. The rest would be elected on a regionwide basis, as 'top-up members.'...it is expected that the constituency members would make up the majority."
 
This is a deliberate attempt to mislead, as is the following statement...
 
"The North East Regional Development Agency, for example, would answer not to Ministers or Whitehall but to the assembly."
 
However, the Draft Regional Assemblies Bill Policy Statement (Section 43) states,
"Central government would retain powers to ensure that assemblies and their RDA's continue to address national priorities.For example, the assembly would need to consult the Government on the draft regional economic strategy and on Board appointments."
 
And now it is also reported that Rt. Hon. Nick Raynsford has stated that the leaflet has factual errors about costs of local reorganisation and more information has to go out.Click here to read. This is not possible as we are now in the 'Purdah Period.'
 
Judith Wallace, Chairman of the North East No Campaign states, " It is not possible for the Government to put any information into the public domain. They cannot possibly simply correct a mistake for Durham County residents when the issue is being decided by 1,900,000 North East residents. This whole affair is descending into an absolute shambles."
 
ENDS
 
Contact
Neil Herron
North East No Campaign
Frederick Street
Sunderland
Tel. 0191 565 7143
Mob. 07776 202045
 
www.northeastnocampaign.co.uk
 
www.neilherron.blogspot.com
 
Notes to Editors:
 
The Electoral Commission did not have sight of the Government's 'Your Say' Leaflet until 3rd September when we handed them a copy at Trevelyan House. The ODPM had not even consulted them on its content.
 
The same team, North East Against Regional Assemblies, were successful with a complaint to the District Auditor last year which exposed that the unelected North East Assembly had been misusing public money in a similar way, and embarassed the North East Councils who had been funding the propaganda.
Read the story here
 
Read the Christopher Booker article in the Sunday Telegraph ... 'Rigging of a Referendum' here