MP's husband backs plans to move part of his wife's South Shields constituency into Jarrow
The husband of South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has come under fire for being out of step with her public statements '“ and Labour Party policy '“ over electoral boundary changes.
Simon Buck – who is employed as his wife’s part-time Parliamentary assistant – has backed Boundary Commission plans to move the Simonside and Rekendyke wards into the neighbouring Jarrow Parliametary constituency – saying it is often described as the “Jarrow end of Shields” by local people.
As recently as October, Mrs Lewell-Buck said she was “disappointed” by the Boundary Commission proposal and urged residents to make their concerns clear during the consultation.
In his submission to the Commission, Mr Buck said: “I agree with your proposals, I understand that South Shields and other constituencies need to change.
“The loss of Simonside & Rekendyke is, I feel, suitable as locally people often refer to it as the Jarrow end of Shields.”
But his wife told the Gazette in October last year: “It is disappointing that the Boundary Commission are pressing ahead with their proposals to remove Simonside and Rekendye from the South Shields constituency. To do so ignores historical, geographical and cultural connections.”
Neither were available for comment on the issue yesterday.
A senior Labour Party member said: “I have lived in the town all my life and I have never known the area to be referred to as that.
“As the MP’s husband and a paid member of her staff, you would think he would be fully supporting his wife in her role and supporting the party line on this issue.
“I was notified about this by a resident. As someone who lives in Simonside, they took quite an exception to his comments that the area is known as the ‘Jarrow end’ of Shields”.
South Tyneside Council leader Coun Iain Malcolm said he had never heard the area being referred to as this.
A spokeswoman for Mrs Lewell-Buck’s office in South Shields said the MP had made a submission to the Boundary Commission in December 2016 – supporting the local authority’s counter-proposal to the plan.
She said Mr Buck’s views as an individual were nothing to do with his role in the office.
The Boundary Commission wants to switch Simonside and Rekendyke ward into Jarrow and move Boldon Colliery, Cleadon and Boldon wards – currently in Jarrow – into South Shields.
Mr Buck was unavailable for comment.