Town Hall defend their newsletter in fierce battle with Eric Pickles
PUBLISHED: 10:28 02 May 2014 | UPDATED: 10:55 02 May 2014
The deadline for Town Hall to explain itself to the government over its 'Hackney Today' newsletter, dubbed "Labour propaganda" by rivals, has passed.
Hackney Today, who released another issue just this week, has come under fire from Tory cabinet minister Eric Pickles- who compared the Hackney council freesheet to propaganda in Soviet Russia.
Town Hall has responded to Pickles, the secretary of state for communities and local government, “explaining to him in the strongest possible terms why he should reconsider”.
Mayor Jules Pipe has defended the newsletter, which was found to be printing too frequently, saying it is a “legal requirement” and “cheaper than using ads in the local press.”
A council spokesperson said: “Hackney Council has sent a submission to the Secretary of State that outlines in detail the financial, legal, and community benefit case for retaining fortnightly production of Hackney Today, and explaining to him in the strongest possible terms why he should reconsider his position and withdraw the threat of government direction concerning Hackney Today. We await his response with interest.”
Mr Pickles issued the ultimatum two weeks ago, urging the council to defend the freesheet, or face legal action.
The Tory MP called the Labour-led council’s newsletter ‘Town Hall Pravdas’ and said “only Putin would be proud of a record like that” in reference to the apparent ‘gagging’ of local bloggers.
At a debate last week, Hackney Conservatives branded Hackney Today “Labour propaganda”, a claim Mayor Pipe strongly denies.
A Hackney Council spokesperson insisted that they conform to the public code for local authorities, and that the newsletter was the best way to communicate with the borough’s “diverse mix of residents.”