Charles Bradlaugh was a radical Liberal M.P. for Northampton, he may have been a Liberal but he always put the town and his constituents first He is part of over 800 years of democracy in our Borough.
Above all else Bradlaugh stood against the establishment and the Conservative Party.
Following 12 years of Tory rule on The County Council, during which they cut services to the bone and mismanaged the finances so badly that they couldn't pay the bills, our Local MPs, also Conservatives, have called for the County Council to be scrapped.
But not only do they want to scrap Northamptonshire County Council but they are prepared to throw away Northampton as well. Willing to see it become part of a new Council Stretching from Brackley to Naseby.
They are being helped in this by Conservative Ministers in Whitehall who appear prepared to play with figures and change the rules to give our MPs what they want.
Local Liberal Democrats asked Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat MP for Bath to raise the matter in Parliament .
What she found out is that despite there being a "consultation period" where local councils can make representations it looks like a done deal and the people of Northampton will see their Borough Council Disappear.
“The Conservative government has told us to consult widely on options but made sure that there is no real choice on offer” says Councillor Brian Markham. a long standing Liberal Democrat Borough Councillor and a former Mayor of Northampton.
" I hope that people from all parties and none will stand up for our town and our history and demand a proper democratic voice for our town".
You can see our questions to The Minister and his answer below.
. To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government,what reasons his Department has changed the lower parameter of a population of 300,000 for a unitary authority from being set only in guidance to being a requirement; and if he will make a statement.
.To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government,what the (a) reasons and (b) evidential basis are for the threshold of a population of 300,000 being chosen as a requirement for unitary authorities.
.To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, of its requirement for the population of a unitary council at a minimum being substantially in excess of 300,000.
The Government Response
“It is the statutory guidance, issued by the Secretary of State on 27 March 2018 under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, which states that a proposal for unitary local government should seek to achieve unitary authorities with populations as a minimum substantially in excess of 300,000. The Secretary of State has issued this guidance, including on population size, having regard to past reorganisations, the Northamptonshire County Council Best Value Inspection Report of March 2018, and research, including that from the County Councils Network in 2016 into lessons from previous unitarisations which found that the scale of a unitary council was key, with larger authorities able to deliver economies of scale while smaller unitary councils were more likely to be less resilient, putting key services at potential risk.”