It’s not clear what point Coun Andrew Semple was trying to make in his letter (Times & Star, July 30) but it is time for the Labour Party to cease in their denigration of my dear husband, David King, who finally lost his fight for life against a long illness the day before the letter appeared.

I should like to point out to Coun Semple that David’s fundraising elevated Workington Constituency Labour Party’s finances to a better place than they had been for years previously.

We had run several extremely successful Burns Nights prior to Coun Semple’s ‘help’.

David was responsible for the idea of giving out certificates to long-serving members and was also a kind, generous person who cared about his community.

Nothing changed – he was still the same person as perceived prior to the ‘revelations’ about him. His sentence was spent. There was no legal or even moral reason to disclose it.

There is a phrase ‘argumentum ad hominem’ (argument against the man) which sums up Labour’s attacks on David. They were bitterly disappointed to lose in the elections and instead of looking inwards to see how they could address what went wrong, they chose to blame him.

They were the ones who dragged up his past in an effort to make his and my life as uncomfortable as possible and their attempts to get us to resign were constant and included police involvement on an accusation that was completely untrue.

Their constant abuse, name-calling and unfounded attacking of his credibility and authority was childish and, in the extreme, cruel, and served no purpose other than causing extreme distress to David and myself.

Politics should be about producing policies that benefit our people and communities, being judged on what has been achieved and criticising poor performance, not focused on attacking personalities because you have nothing else to offer.

I think that any ex-prisoner should indeed think twice about supporting Workington Labour as they now know they are at risk of never being allowed to lead a better life without reference to their past.

David had had a difficult life, and he was entitled to a fresh start. He was a good man, a loving husband, and did much work to help local people and organisations.

Please do not respond to this letter with any further adverse comment or abuse. I would like David now to rest in peace.


Stainburn & Clifton Ward, Allerdale Borough Council, and Stainburn Ward, Workington

Town Council

EDITOR’S NOTE: We should point out that before knowledge of Mr King’s death became public, Coun Semple contacted the Times & Star asking to withdraw his letter for publication but the page had gone to press by then.

Doing the hard yards

Paul Scott, Leader of Allerdale Independents suggests (“Ex-council leader joins Tories”, Times & Star, July 30) that his group, who are mostly new councillors, are therefore a bit “rough round the edges”. That’s one way of putting it – “aggressive and abusive” is another.

Newness is no excuse: basic decency and respectful conduct should not have to be learned in the council chamber by grown-ups.

I’m not sure how many of the Independents are businessmen (Coun Scott’s word) but I doubt it is any more than in the Conservative or Labour Groups who likely have some businesswomen too. But I don’t see any enterprise or innovation among the Independents. So far their “business expertise” has got us a waste contract that costs £1m a year more (30%) than the old one did in 2018-19; blocked investment by Sellafield and NHS that would have given us new health facilities and over 300 jobs as well as a free community sports facility; and refused a grant from a government body to fund much-needed social housing in Westfield.

As for being keen to see value for money, it’s the Audit Committee that scrutinises that for the council, and the Independents have more councillors on that committee than any other group. So how many independents turned up to Audit Committee on July 29 (on Zoom so they didn’t have to get off the sofa – and you can name a substitute if prevented from attending)? None. Not one out of 16!

Maybe it’s easier sounding off on Facebook or grandstanding in the council meeting than doing the hard yards of detailed value-for-money scrutiny in the Audit Committee?


Labour Group,

Allerdale Borough Council

The word on the streets...

I was amazed to read that traders in Station Street want the barriers to extend the pavements removed (Times & Star, July 30). Maybe the news since then of the ‘brake’ on the relaxation of lockdown rules and the re-imposed lockdown in much of Northern England will make them realise that the coronavirus is still here.

Andrew Marshall is quoted as saying: “They (the barriers) were put there to facilitate queues outside shops but this is no longer an issue and people are wearing face coverings.”

I have only been in Station Street once since March 13. I had been avoiding it as I knew the pavements were not two metres wide so it was not possible to keep two metres apart on them. I was told that the pavement had been widened to enable people to walk up and down the same side of the street with more distance between them. I therefore went there and the pavement on one side had been widened but when I saw a lady walking down while I was walking up and I went into a shop door so she could walk up near the new barriers and avoid being near me she ignored that and continued on the old pavement, definitely not two metres away from me.

I then had to go through queues of people waiting to go into shops. It was impossible for them to practise social distancing or for me to walk safely through them. Since then I have not been to Station Street when the shops are open.

Andrew Marshall says the queues are no longer an issue, from which I deduce that other people having been to Station Street once since the shops opened are not going again as it is not safe to do so. Many people do not wear face coverings in the street, maybe because their glasses steam up. Others walk around town (without masks) looking at their mobile phones and unaware if people are two inches away from them!

If the traders want us to shop in Station Street the pavements need to be widened on both sides or the street, pedestrianised (apart from one hour a day for deliveries when the shops are closed) until the threat from coronavirus is reduced to level 1, or permanently.



Rise of the gas-guzzlers

Car buyers are being conned by advertisers into thinking that the ever bigger and heavier vehicles they are being persuaded to buy are safer, and less harmful to other people and the environment. But they create more danger and pollution to others, and many are even too big to fit into standard parking spaces.

A recent report by the New Weather Institute and climate charity Possible shows that average emissions of new cars in the UK fell until 2016, when the average was 120g of CO2 per kilometre travelled, but have since risen significantly. This is despite individual modern vehicles being more fuel-efficient than those of even a few years ago.

The report puts this down to the car industry pushing sales of large SUVs which now account for 40 per cent of new car sales, compared with electric cars at less than two per cent. Typical emissions of SUVs are 200 to 300g of CO2/km, compared with an average family car producing well under 140g/km.

The report suggests that advertising of gas-guzzler cars producing more than 160g of CO2/km should be subject to an advertising ban in the same way that tobacco adverts are banned. If our government is serious about its environmental agenda, then it should be considering such an option. After all, for three years the power consumption of the lowly vacuum cleaner has been limited by law in order to promote energy efficiency.


Seaton, Workington

Nuclear convoys

Yet another nuclear warhead convoy was spotted travelling northbound through north Lancashire and Cumbria on Monday July 27, the fourth nuclear warhead convoy seen travelling between the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Burghfield and the Coulport base in less than three months.

These convoys carry deadly cargoes and should not be on our roads. They should not be driving past our homes and our children’s schools.

It is time for them to stop. Official statistics reveal that convoys used to transport nuclear weapons and radioactive waste suffered 40 safety lapses in just five years (2014 to 2019) (see a report in The Scotsman here). It is shocking that Cumbrian and Lancashire roads are regularly used by military convoys with nuclear warheads on board.

We need to take nuclear weapons off our roads and to scrap them altogether.


On behalf of Cumbria and Lancashire CND,