Perry - "Council is playing politics with our Pier"
Nick Perry, the Lib Dem parliamentary campaigner for Hastings & Rye, has slammed Hastings Borough Council for making announcements about the Pier in the purdah period before the St Helens Ward by-election, the polling day for which is 10 December.
Nick says, "The Council is sailing very close to the wind on this particular issue. As I understand it, The Local Government Act 1986, and the 1988 Code of Practice on Local Government Publicity (as amended in 2001), states that there should not be support or opposition for any policy particularly associated with a party.
"The Council may say that it has responded to a news release from the Grand Pier Limited, but no-one can tell me that the release of this information does not have political consequences.
"It is my view that the continued closure of the Pier is a policy that is, rightly, associated with the Conservative Cabinet.
"The Hastings Pier & White Rock Trust is calling on all of the candidates in the by-election to sign up to their Pledge and to get the Pier back into community ownership.
"The Pier is very much an issue in this by-election. That is why I question whether it has been in the interest of the ruling Conservative Group for the Council to have made this statement - trying to persuade local people that the Pier's demise is imminent?
"I will be making a formal complaint to the Leader of the Council and the Returning Officer," said Nick.