PRESS RELEASE: OFFICIAL - WALSALL COUNCIL BECOME FIRST COUNCIL TO STOP MEP MEETING HER CONSTITUENTS
Walsall council have confirmed their decision to prevent an MEP from meeting her constituents in a meeting last night.
Independent MEP Nikki Sinclaire was denied permission for her Mobile Surgery to visit the town centre in Walsall back in July when the application was first made. The original planning committee meeting, which was held on July 20th, referred the issue to a Full Council meeting which was held last night (September 12th) in which the recommendation to deny Ms Sinclaire’s request to bring her vehicle into the town centre was upheld. Walsall have become the one and only council in the whole of the West Midlands to deny Ms Sinclaire a spot within the town centre to meet the people who voted to put her in her role.
Under council rules which were outlined in a letter from Chief Executive Paul Sheehan in July, the criteria for being allowed on the highway in Walsall is as follows, “Exhibitions and displays will only be permitted on the highway in the Borough where the organisation requesting the display is a charity, a local community group based in Walsall or a public service organisation”.
Prior to this communication, a member of Ms Sinclaire’s team in August 2010 emailed Walsall Council to find out where the Mobile Surgery could be parked to meet people in the town. Hazel Powell, Senior Licensing Officer, replied to the staff member stating “Unfortunately political parties are not permitted to the use the designated sites therefore we are unable to meet your request”.
Following a meeting of the licensing and safety committee on the 20th July, Ms Sinclaire was informed that her request, under the Highways Act 1980 Section 115 (E) Promotional Site Activity, had been denied as the mobile surgery did not meet the criteria determined by the council.
The West Midlands MEP is one of 6 MEP’s who covers the region which has 5.2 million constituents. In the past year, Nikki Sinclaire’s mobile surgery has virtually covered every town and city within the West Midlands region.
Nikki said of the decision, “In these times where people feel disconnected from their politicians, Walsall council’s decision not to allow my surgery into Walsall is an affront to democracy. It is also unfair that some of Walsall councillors use council property to run their surgeries.
The people of Walsall have a right to be able to meet me. I’m the only MEP with a mobile surgery, and Walsall Council are the only council who are opposed to my presence.”