Councillors’ plans to share out some free JLS concert tickets have been hotly denied after the news leaked out that they intended to award these promotional tickets to themselves, with names drawn from a hat. Most of the winners have come forward and given their tickets to deserving cases. Paul Stainton speaks to two of the councillors who were able to confirm that they had no intention of keeping the tickets in the first place. Broadcast at 08:10 on Wednesday 14th July 2010 in the Peterborough Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
PAUL: As we revealed last week a number of city councillors were in the hat to win free tickets to see JLS this weekend on the Embankment. Seven of those councillors are set to receive a pair of complimentary tickets to the upcoming JLS concert. The Peterborough Breakfast Show revealed last week that councillors had been invited to enter a ballot to win these tickets. They were given to them by the promoter of the gig. Now we’ve contacted four of the winning councillors, and we can reveal that Mayor Keith Sharp, Councillors Graham Murphy, Sue Day and John Fox will donate their tickets to worthy causes. And John Fox has just phoned in this morning to say he alway intended to donate his tickets to a worthy cause. He never intended to go, and we’re happy to say that John. Councillor John Peach was also given complimentary tickets by the promoter to acknowledge his contribution in bringing JLS to Peterborough, and he’s going because of that. But we’re still not sure of the intentions of Councillor George Simons and a final councillor that’s still unknown to us. His name wasn’t given to us. Now one of the councillors selected for tickets has pulled out of the giveaway as well. But on the line now is Councillor Sue Day. Good morning Sue.
SUE: Good morning.
PAUL: Councillor for Paston.
SUE: That’s right.
PAUL: Now did you always intend to give your tickets away, or were you intending to go?
SUE: If I was intending to go I think I would have had my tickets by now.
PAUL: Mmm. Mmm.
PAUL: What are you intending to do with yours?
SUE: Councillor George Simons as well is councillor for Paston ward and we’ve got four tickets, and we feel that it is very important that unsung heroes within our ward are donated these tickets, people who would have never ever in their wildest dreams have the opportunity to attend such an event.
PAUL: The Council have handled this pretty badly, though, because these free tickets, they could have been given in some sort of raffle to schools or something.
SUE: They could.
PAUL: That would have been a better way of doing this, and we wouldn’t have needed to poke a stick at it.
SUE: Yes. But as we’ve been given this opportunity, and as you know I’ve got Paston ward, and we have got a lot of fantastic people in that ward, who nobody ever recognises or appreciates. They do so much for other people, unsung heroes, and it’s just my opportunity to give four people a chance of a lifetime to see JLS.
PAUL: Well Sue, you’ve restored our faith. Well done. Thank you for that. And Councillor Simons is giving his away as well, so five out of seven of the councillors that got tickets are giving them away. Because Graham Murphy is on the line as well. Morning Graham.
GRAHAM: Morning Paul.
PAUL: You represent Orton Longueville of course, and did you always intend to give yours away? Or did our pressure force the tourniquet around your pocket with the tickets in, to give them out?
GRAHAM: No not in the slightest. I never intended to go. It’s not something for me, and the only other person who would have been able to benefit might have been my daughter and she’s not around anyway, she’s away on holiday at the moment, so no it was never an intention of mine to go. But I did see it as an opportunity to make sure that they were used in a proper manner and they went to someone worthwhile, rather than .. I mean we always say there’s a special need, there’s a special cause, but how about just for the average person? So I chose to contact Orton Longueville School, and ask them to nominate two people, two just ordinary kids, for doing the normal everyday thing, to be able to receive these tickets. And that will happen at the end of the week.
PAUL: Yes. Sue, you can understand why people may have been a bit sceptical about all of this, and a bit put off by it?
SUE: Unfortunately you always get sceptics, don’t you, people think we’re in it for ourselves? We’re not. We wouldn’t be councillors if we were in it for ourselves. It’s about doing what’s right for the people of the city, and getting them recognised for what they do.
PAUL: If this sort of thing happens again, what should the Council do in future, do you think?
SUE: Well what about the children in our care? How often do they get thought about? there’s so many unsung heroes within this city that give so freely. Let’s recognise a few of them now and again.
PAUL: I agree Sue. And I think that’s why I’ve been poking a stick at it all week or so. But Sue I know you’ve got to go, so I’ll let you pop off. And Graham, the Council could have handled this a lot lot better, couldn’t they? It was a bit of a cock up from the Council officers, wasn’t it?
GRAHAM: I quite agree with you to a point, but at the end of the day it’s also political menace from other parties. Why actually not wait and see when the tickets have been distributed what the councillors do, and then have a go at those people who may have used them inappropriately, rather than try and make an accusation that everybody was going to use tham inappropriately in the first place?
PAUL: Yes but we’ve got to expose these things. We spent half of yesterday trying to get the names of councillors off the Council. They didn’t want to give us the names.
GRAHAM: Oh. Well I don’t agree with that at all. What’s there to hide? It becomes public record very shortly anyway, because it’s in receipt of goods over the twenty five pound threshold, so it was going to happen, and you were going to find out anyway. And whoever this person is that’s kept the names themself, it will turn up, and you will be able to play with that one when you do.
PAUL: Yes well we could put a Freedom of Information request in but it might take twenty days to get the answer. But i don’t understand, like you said, there’s nothing to hide really, is there? Unless you’re ..
GRAHAM: Unless you’ve got something to worry about there’s nothing to hide whatsoever.
PAUL: Yes. In future, what do you think the Council should do if they’ve got something like this to give away?
GRAHAM: Probably stop and think a bit harder next time.
PAUL: Graham, thank you for that. Graham Murphy from the English Democrats. His tickets have been given to some students from Orton Longueville School, and Councillor Sue Day, councillor for Paston, her tickets going to some deserving kids as well. That’s what should have happened in the first place, isn’t it? These tickets should have gone in a big draw for worthy people in Peterborough, or just some kids that can use them and enjoy them. These are austere times. People haven’t got a lot of money. Whatever the intentions, it’s how it looks to people that makes the point here. And if you are that councillor we’ve not got the name of this morning, and you want to give us a call, let us know what you’re doing with your tickets. And just to reiterate Councillor John Fox has also got some tickets, and he always intended to give his tickets to a worthwhile cause, and we’re quite happy to point that out as well.