When our Labour council threatened to close Darlington Library, I raised the closure twice with the relevant Cabinet Minister, got petition signatures against the proposal, wrote a report setting out the local council’s poor record on libraries, and ultimately brought a legal challenge that has kept the library open for at least another year.
If elected, I promise to use the position of MP to continue this campaign to save the library. I will ask the Secretary of State to call in the decision, I will continue to explore new legal options, and I will push the council to reconsider their decision.
Jeremy Corbyn’s candidate here while Labour MP for the area was silent on the closure for over a year – and hired at taxpayers’ expense Nick Wallis, the Labour Councillor forcing through the closure. After an election was called, they proposed that the Crown Street building be used to replace the Arts Centre which Labour also closed.
Jenny Chapman has since accepted: ‘I should have listened… I did not want to launch a campaign to save the library… On reflection… people wanted to see me stand up and shout on their behalf. People are saying to me that they needed to see me stand up against that particular decision – if they’re saying that, I need to listen’ (Northern Echo, 20 April 2016, link).