Archive for the 'Exclusive' Category

29
Jul
09

highlights: council leader threatens a member of the public with his solicitor for daring to complain

BREAKING NEWS …

Mr Monkey has been told  by a source close to council leader Iain Malcolm that he’s desperately hoping that the controversy surrounding his election victory in 2000 will go away, especially as he still reckons there’s time to find a suitable Parliamentary seat in the forthcoming general election with so many MPs announcing their sudden retirement.

Bloggers will recall that Mr Monkey revealed that councillor Malcolm personally ordered his supporters to collect postal votes before opening them and destroying the ones for the Tory candidate, Pat Piggott. CLICK HERE, HERE and HERE.

It now seems that a member of the public was disgusted by councillor Malcolm’s antics, he had the audacity to write to his MP to complain about his ballot rigging antics. The MP forwarded the correspondence to Iain Malcolm who responded to the MP’s enquiry by saying that his solicitor would be getting in touch with the person who made the complaint.

Apparently this is a usual Malcolm response when things get too hot to handle.

Mr Monkey is looking into this matter and hopes to get his hands on the correspondence which he will of course publish on his blog. This chimp can’t wait to see whether the council leaders has abused his position once again by sending his correspondence on council letterhead.

15
May
09

councillor gibson is top of the class when it comes to expenses

'Caught! Who's paying for that Ernest?'

'Caught! Who's paying for that Ernest?'

Over the last 2 days Mr Monkey has revealed how Conservative group leader David Potts, and his colleague Jeff Milburn have milked the expenses system by pocketing nearly £7,000 in just 12 months. CLICK HERE and HERE.

Today Mr Monkey can reveal that screwing the expenses system is not exclusively a Tory thing. It seems that the local Labour party were keen to get in on the act; they have the greediest bastard of them all.

According to figures released earlier this week, Labour councillor Ernest Gibson, who represents Whiteleas, tops the list when it comes to expense claims. In 2008 – 09 he claimed nearly £5, 000 for travel, hotels and subsistence – that’s almost £100 a week. 

Councillor Gibson who is renowned for his love of freebies and can more often than not be found downing large quantities of alcohol and stuffing his ample frame at the buffet table – all funded by the taxpayer – claimed £3,431 in travel expenses and £1,500 for hotels and meals.  

It seems councillor Gibson’s appetite for all things free and his desire to screw the system knows no bounds, but then Mr Monkey reckons he’ll tell the public that it’s all within the rules – so isn’t it time the rules were changed Ernest?

13
May
09

tory councillor David Potts £12,000 expense claims

After yesterday’s pronouncements by the Conservative leader David Cameron concerning the dodgy expense claims of some of his colleagues i.e pay back the money or risk being booted out of the party, Mr Monkey can’t help wondering when councillor David Potts, the local Conservative group leader will join the newly formed  alliance of spineless progressives and the outcasts, who apparently want to be known as The Progressive Party and The Association on non Aligned Independent Councillors?

Regular readers of this blog will remember this post CLICK HERE

"After claiming nearly £12,000 in expenses he still can't afford a pair of sunglasses"

"After claiming nearly £12,000 in expenses he still can't afford a pair of sunglasses"

about councillor Potts record expense claim in 2005 when he claimed more than £2,251 – most of it was spent on First Class rail travel which just happened to be around the same time he claimed he was studying at Cambridge.

Mr Monkey can now reveal that councillor Potts has gone that extra mile in the last 12 months (2008 – 09) and has set another record by claiming a whooping  £3,393 in travel expenses and subsistence.

Interestingly this claim also coincides with the period that councillor Potts had been selected as the Conservative candidate to challenge Alistair Darling in Edinburgh – that is until Mr Monkey put paid to his political ambitions by revealing the sleazy alcohol fuelled antics of councillor Potts.

This chimp reckons that the people of South Tyneside unwittingly paid for his campaign jollies and will be stunned to learn that the council allowed him to get away with it.

Mr Monkey can also reveal that councillor Potts, who is allegedly in opposition has one of the worst attendance records on South Tyneside council,  but he’s still managed to claim nearly £12,000 in travel and subsistence since his election in late 2004.

This chimp reckons it’s time David Cameron turned his attention to some of his colleagues in local government, especially those who are blatantly ripping off the taxpayer with their exaggerated and probably fraudulent expense claims.

.. and Mr Monkey certainly intends to bring councillor Potts dubious expense claims to his attention.

07
May
09

exclusive: councillor sewell left out in the cold

EXCLUSIVE: Poor councillor Sewell the long suffering Labour member for Monkton faces the ultimate humiliation at Saturday’s Labour group meeting .

Apparently councillor Sewell who 12 months ago was forced out of the decision making cabinet and given a chair of a select committee with a salary of £10,000,  is set to receive absolutely nothing at Saturday’s gathering of the pigs – a clear sign that council leader Iain Malcolm intends to consolidate his grip on the reigns of power.

Many including Mr Monkey reckoned councillor Sewell would be made deputy mayor as he’s made no secret of the fact that he wanted to become mayor before he stands down.

It seems Iain Malcolm knew this and has decided to show his dominance by slapping poor old Jimmy in the face – never mind councillor Sewell, Mr Monkey has heard that the Independents are looking for a candidate in Monkton.

05
May
09

mr monkey is not the only one on the move

Councillor Steve Harrison who represents Fellgate and Hedworth and is up for re election in 2010 seems to have taken a leaf out of senior Labour councillor Tom Hanson’s book and quit.

According to Indy councillor Ahmed Khan’s twitter page, councillor Steve Harrison is set to leave the Indy Alliance for “a combination of reasons”. CLICK HERE.

His tweat has also been picked up by another local blogger who speculates why councillor Harrison has left the Indy Alliance.

Mr Monkey is still tied up settling into his new home but will be watching to see how things develop throughout the day – he can’t wait to see how the Gazette reports this one given the prominence way it buried the Tom Hanson story at the bottom of a page.

22
Apr
09

exclusive: Editor of the Gazette desperately tries to silence his critics

Yesterday Mr Monkey revealed that editor of the Shields Gazette and chair of the Northern region of the Society of Editors, John Szymanski had complained to council leader Iain Malcolm about the contents of a newsletter that criticised the Gazette’s less then healthy relationship with the ruling Labour group. CLICK HERE.

This chimp can now confirm that Mr Szymanski has brought his profession into disrepute by attempting to silence his critics. Unfortunately his actions have made a mockery out of his so called commitment to free-speech and has raised some serious questions about his integrity and judgement as well as his suitability to continue as a editor of the once proud Shields Gazette.

It seems that Mr Szymanski took exception to the following statement published in the spring edition of the Independent newsletter for Westoe: 

WITH ALL OF THIS ACTIVITY why is our local rag not full of accounts of all the questions, discussion and debate raised by the Independent Alliance? It has been suggested that the Gazette has become part of the Malcolm Fanzine Cavalcade. Since Cllr Iain Malcolm stepped out of the shadows and took on the role publicly that he has always had, leader of the Council, the editor of the Gazette is seen more often at the jollies previously mentioned than the Mayor! The Alliance has no need to depend upon the Gazette for reporting its activities, we can do it ourselves. As you know we distribute newsletters four times a year, produce special leaflets for specific issues e.g. Gypsies Green and the disappearing ballot boxes, knock on doors and talk to people throughout the year and hold public meetings. Never the less, it is sad to think that free press is not that free and has been bought for an onion baghee from the buffet! 

 … apparently the truth hurts.

A source close to Iain Malcolm has confirmed that he alerted Mr Szymanski to the article who in turn was so incensed by the critiscim he faced that he contacted the council leader to see if there was anything he could do about it. Councillor Malcolm told him there was nothing he could do officially and that the best course of action would be for him to make a formal complaint to the local Standard’s Board. Councillor Malcolm explained the process in more detail and even told him which sections to quote in his complaint.

Mr Monkey can now reveal that John Szymanski has complained to the Standard’s Board about councillor Jane Branley whose name was on the newsletter and that following a confidential report to a sub committee the matter will now be investigated further.

What councillor Malcolm didn’t tell John Szymanski was that when a complaint is made to the Standard’s Board the person who the complaint is lodged against is told who made the complaint. Poor Mr Szymanski thought he was making an anonymous complaint and that no one would find out about it, least of all councillor Branley and especially his own staff – nothing could be further from the truth.

Mr Szymanski’s desperation to silence his critics and his willingness to please his paymaster has back fired and he has been labelled a hypocrite with no integrity. He’s also become the laughing stock of his profession – but worse is to come.

Mr Monkey will be contacting senior managers staff at Johnston Press in Edinburgh and will be sending hard copies of this post to every member of the Society of Editors and not just in the North East.

Mr Monkey has also learned that a further 20,000 newsletters containing the same article have been distributed in Hebburn South, Whiteleas, Biddick and All Saints, Horsley Hill and Whitburn and Marsden – apparently there’s more to follow.

Mr Monkey can’t help wondering how Mr Szymanski is going to explain this latest in a long line of gaffes to his senior managers? 

17
Apr
09

exclusive: tory councillor David Potts gets almost £1,200 for every council meeting he attends

'No wonder the bastard's smiling, he can afford an escort when he gets £1,176 for every council meeting he attends'

'No wonder the bastard's smiling, he can afford an escort when he gets £1,176 for every council meeting he attends'

Mr Monkey would like to thank the other local blogger for drawing his attention to the attendances of certain councillors.

He seems to have selectively singled out the poor attendance record of councillor Allen Branley, the not quite as bad record of councillor Jane Branley and the “ever present” records of councillor Victor Thompson and Ahmed Khan.

So Mr Monkey thought he’d take a closer look at the Hobbit’s hero – the King of Sleaze and ‘Totty Magnet’ – Tory Boy David Potts attendance record, and what an eye opener it was.

Below are Pudgy Face’s attendance rates up to 15 April 2009 and they have been taken from the council’s own website.

Clearly, he only attends full council meetings for the attention. He has no respect for sub committee’s, and cant be bothered to go to even 1 CAF meeting, they only council structure that deals directly with his ward members.

Labour council leader Iain Malcolm bought Tory Boy’s loyalty by giving him a Scrutiny vice-chair position, which the members allowance scheme shows pays £7056 in addition to his basic allowance of £7056  and this is how he conned more than £14,000 out of the public purse earned his money.

1. BOROUGH COUNCIL
11 MEETINGS
10 ATTENDANCES 
= 90 % RATE

2. LICENSING COMMITTEE
17 MEETINGS
0 ATTENDANCE  
= 0 % ATTENDANCE RATE

3. BOLDON CLEADON AND WHITBURN CAF
9 MEETINGS
0 ATTENDANCES
0 % RATE

4. REGULATORY COMMITTEE
8 MEETINGS, 7 CANCELLED
0 ATTENDANCES
0 % RATE

5. HUMAN RESOURCES COMMITTEE
8 MEETINGS
0 ATTENDANCES
0 % RATE

6. SELECT COMMITTEE ENVIRONMENT HOUSING AND TRANSPORT AND SAFER AND STRONGER COMMUNITIES COMMITTEE – VICE CHAIR
8 MEETINGS
2 ATTENDANCES
25 % RATE

7. APPOINTMENTS SUB COMMITTEE
8 MEETINGS
0 ATTENDANCES
% RATE

8. SCRUTINY COMMISSION ON ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENT – VICE CHAIR
7 MEETINGS
0 ATTENDANCES

9. SCRUTINY COMMISSION ON IMPROVING DELIVERY OF TRANSPORT AND PEDESTRIAN INFRASTRUCTURE -VICE CHAIR
2 MEETINGS
0 ATTENDANCES
0 % RATE

SUMMARY AS AT 15 APRIL 2009
POSSIBLE MEETINGS -71
ATTENDANCES – 12
OVERALL ATTENDANCE RATE % – 17%

Total amount that can be claimed by Pudgy Face, councillor David Potts is £14,112 or £1,176 per meeting attended – not bad work if you can get it!

09
Apr
09

exclusive: council leader iain malcolm reported for ballot rigging .. who knew about it and why was it covered up?

council Iain Malcolm

council Iain Malcolm was reproted to the police for ballot rigging by the town's MP Dr David Clark

A fortnight ago Mr Monkey exclusively published the findings of his in depth investigation into allegations of ballot rigging by South Tyneside’s Labour council leader, councillor Iain Malcolm.

Mr Monkey’s revelations confirmed what a handful of people already knew, and what many others suspected, councillor Iain Malcolm will stop at nothing to cling on to power, including rigging elections in his favour – in this case by deliberately destroying postal votes intended for other candidates. CLICK HERE to read Mr Monkey’s revealtions in full.

On 31st March, Mr Monkey posted a second article in which he revealed the dilemma faced by Tom and Mary Taylor. They’d witnessed councillor Iain Malcolm opening postal vote envelopes and destroying ballot papers intended for the Conservative, Pat Piggott. They agonised for months about whether or not they should tell anyone about what they’d seen before finally telling all.

Mr Monkey also revealed how Iain Malcolm was willing to sign off the local party’s accounts ‘on behalf’ of Tom Taylor (he was the party treasurer) without his knowledge or approval until Geraldine White (a then executive committee member) objected to councillor Malcolm’s proposals and suggested that she should visit Mr Taylor so that he could sign off the accounts in person. CLICK HERE for more details.

TOM TAYLOR REVEALS ALL ..

True to her word Mrs White visited Mr and Mrs Taylor to discuss the annual accounts and during the course of the conversation Mrs White mentioned that councillor Iain Malcolm had proposed signing off the party’s accounts in his absence. This angered Mr Taylor who then proceeded to tell her what he and Mrs Taylor had witnessed Iain Malcolm do in their front room and explained in detail how Iaian Malcolm rigged the ballot to ensure the result went his way.

Mrs White, whose loyalty to the party was unflinching and who was “taken in” by Iain Malcolm couldn’t believe what she was hearing but knew that both Tom and Mary Taylor were extremeley honest and she had no reason to question their integrity.

It was now Mrs White’s turn to agonise over what to do next. Should she put loyalty to Iain Malcolm above loyalty to the party? She choose the latter.

SOUTH SHIELDS MP, DR DAVID CLARK TOLD ABOUT IAIN MALCOLM’S ELECTION FRAUD

Mrs White was aware that the then member of Parliament for South Shields, Dr David Clark was hoping to stand down at the 2001 local elections and that he’d been offered a life peerage and a seat in the House of Lords by Prime Minister Tony Blair. The only thing that was stopping him was his contempt for councillor Iain Malcolm who he blamed for splitting the local party into several factions and for the infighting that resulted.

He did’nt trust Iain Malcolm and believed that he was dishonest, had no integrity, was devious and had been corrupted by power.

But what worried him most was that Iain Malcolm was on the Parliamentary Panel and would be the person most likely to succeed him if he was to quit at the 2001 elections – something he was desperate to avoid.

In the meantime Mrs White decided to put the party first and contacted Dr David Clark and told him what she’d been told by Tom and Mary Taylor.

Dr David Clark asked Mrs White to arrange a meeting with Mr and Mrs Taylor as he was keen to hear for himself what they’d seen Iain Malcolm do. He also wanted to know more about the methods he’d used to ‘fix’ the election result. 

A meeting was hastily arranged at which both Mrs White and Dr Clark listened intently to what Tom and Mary Taylor had to say. Tom confirmed that he’d been asked (by Iain Malcolm) to collect completed postal vote envelopes from care homes and sheltered accommodation and that he’d witnessed Iain Malcolm open the envelopes before either destroying or resealing them depending on who the person had voted for.

Dr Clark asked them to keep this matter confidential and reminded them that this highly sensitive was potentially very damaging for the Labour party. He also asked them if they were prepared to make written statements to support what they’d seen. To Tom’s credit and in spite of his illness, he agreed to provide as much information as possible and help in any way he could.

After the meeting Dr Clark and Mrs White discussed the matter at length and agreed a course of action. Dr Clark said he needed to take advise and thought that the party should be investigate the matter. However, he was deeply concerned that both the local and regional Labour party had been infiltrated by supporters of Iain Malcolm and his employer Alan Donnelly, who at that time was a member of the European Parliament and had close links at the highest levels of the Labour party.

Dr Clark felt Iain Malcolm’s antics had major implications for the party especially in view of the party’s support for postal voting. He was also worried about the press getting hold of the information and the damage that this would causes the party, especially with a General Election looming. 

He was concerned that the matter would not be investigated seriously at a regional level and opted to tell senior officials at Millbank House, Labour’s national office in London. 

A senior party official was subsequently asked to initiate an investigation into the matter and within days Iain Malcolm had been removed from the Parliamentary Panel of possible election candidates which put paid to any hopes he had of replacing Dr Clark as the town’s MP. 

Iain Malcolm had played right into the hands of the Labour party’s hierarchy and he was solely responsible for his own deselection. His ballot rigging antics had cleared the way for someone else to be ‘parachuted in’ and it seems that the Prime Minster, Tony Blair just happened to have someone in mind.

POLICE ASKED TO INVESTIGATE

Having taken advise from Labour HQ, Dr Clark and Mrs White contacted the police and arranged to make a formal complaint about the incident. They also agreed to be interviewed and to make written statements.

They were asked to do this separately; Dr Clark attended Jarrow Police station and Mrs White attended South Shields Police station where she was interviewed by a senior police officer called Gallop.

The police agreed to carry out an investigation into the matter and Mr Monkey can confirm that councillor Iain Malcolm was subsequently arrested and interviewed under caution.

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?

About the same time, senior officials within the Labour party decided that they could not risk details of the incident or the subsequent investigation being made public as they felt it would harm their election prospects, especially in South Shields were the Prime Minister’s chosen candidate was about to contest the seat.

Without warning the police contacted both Dr Clark and Mrs White and advised them that no further action would be taken because the complaint had been made outside of the permitted time frame. They were dismayed by this sudden and unexpected decision and whilst they didn’t understand it, they accepted it.

Tom Taylor discussed the matter with Mrs White and expressed his concerns. He felt the party was deliberately attempting to cover the whole affair and in his opinion Iain Malcolm had got away with election fraud. Mrs White in turn sought advise from Millbank House and Dr Clark and was assured that the investigation was ongoing although the General Election would now take priority.

A full investigation was promised after the election but this never materialised.

Mr Monkey has carried out some additional research and can confirm that there is a time limit of 12 months in relation to election matters if complaints are brought under the Representation of the Peoples Act. But this complaint was about a crimes involving fraud and the interception and interference of mail and therefore should have been treated differently.

There are numerous examples of people being charged with crimes committed decades ago – CLICK HERE for details of the latest example.

TONY BLAIR EARMARKS SOUTH SHIELDS AS A SAFE SEAT FOR RISING STAR DAVID ‘BRAINS’ MILIBAND

Meanwhile in Downing Street, Prime Minister Tony Blair had recently hosted a garden party and had pulled one of his senior advisers and head of his Policy Unit to one side and asked him join him in Parliament. He told him that a General Election was imminent and that he’d earmarked a traditionally safe Labour seat for him in a place called South Shields. Apparently he also mentioned that there some issues within the local party that needed sorting out. He assured him that he’d have the help of the sitting MP, Dr David Clark and a handful of reliable party members.

This rising star was none other than David Miliband, affectionately known in Labour party circles as ‘brains’ and now the Foreign Secretary and member of Parliament for South Shields.

WHAT HAPPENED TO DR DAVID CLARK?

Sources close to Dr Clark have confirmed that he intended to stand down at the 2001 general elections but publicly he continued to deny it – that was until Iain Malcolm had been removed from the Parliamentary Panel and before the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair announced the date of the General Election.

Within days of the election announcement, Dr Clark confirmed that he would after all be standing down. This effectively allowed Labour’s National Executive Committee to ‘parachute in’ Tony Blair’s chosen candidate and rising star, David Miliband.

Shortly after Labour won the 2001 general election, Dr Clark was given a life peerage and became Baron Clark of Windemere. He was also made chairman of the Forestry Commission and he quickly disappeared off the local political scene.

WHAT NEXT?

This murky affair raises a number of serious issues and brings into question the integrity and honesty of the council leader, councillor Iain Malcolm.

In the 2000 local elections he cheated his way into office and surely from that moment on the public has a right to question the validity of his position – once a cheat always a cheat .

It’s time for him to stand aside whilst this matter is investigated and he should actively be encouraging the appropriate authorities to dig deep in an effort to clear his name – if you’ve got nothing to hide councillor Malcolm what are you afraid of?

If like Mr Monkey, you are appalled by this shameful act of betrayal contact the Chief Constable of Northumbria Police and ask him to investigate the matter on the grounds of public interest. At the same time you might also like to ask for an explanation as to why the original police investigation was hastily brought to an end.

The local media has a major role to play in exposing the fraud that is councillor Iain Malcolm for the benefit of the people of South Tyneside.

For months the Shields Gazette has been cynically manipulated by councillor Iain Malcolm and his minions in the press office. It’s time for the editor to make a stand on behalf of the people. Its time for the Shields Gazette to give this matter the priority it deserves and for the whole editorial team to put it’s weight behind the growing calls for a full and open investigation into this despicable act of betrayal by the borough’s most senior local political figure.

A MESSAGE TO COUNCILLOR IAIN MALCOLM

If you think things can’t get any worse, think again – Mr Monkey will shortly be publishing details of some of your other exploits including how you used a dead man’s details to join him up as a party member and how you and a handful of people illegally deselected numerous candidates by fixing the selection ballot results.

31
Mar
09

ballot rigging by council leader Iain Malcolm – what happened next

'Postal votes for Pat Piggott abducted by council Leader Iain Malcolm'

'Postal votes for Pat Piggott abducted by council Leader Iain Malcolm'

Last week Mr Monkey published the findings of his investigation into ballot rigging by Labour council leader Iain Malcolm at the 2000 local elections.  

At the time it was widely predicted that councillor Iain Malcolm would lose his seat to the Conservative candidate, Patricia Piggott so he took matter into his own hands by arranging for party members to collect postal votes from unsuspecting members of the public by offering to post them on their behalf.

Little did they know that he had no intention of posting them – not until he had ‘sorted’ them. He did this by opening the ed the postal vote envelopes, removing  ballot papers and destroying the ones that had voted for the Conservative candidate. He then carefully resealed the ones that had voted for him and posted them back to the town hall. Councillor Malcolm’s fraudulent activities had ensured that he was declared the winner

CLICK HERE to read part one of Mr Monkey’s investigation in full.

Councillor Malcolm celebrated his ‘victory’ with a handful of associates who’d helped him secure his victory by either collecting postal votes, illegally completing them, opening them or destroying them. He even boasted that he’d cheated his way to victory by defeating the Conservative candidate.

His associates included, his brother Ed Malcolm, councillor Michael Clare, Arthur Meeks, Rob Dix and Mark Walsh.

After councilor Iain Malcolm was sworn in for another term the unsuspecting party members, Tom and Mary Taylor, who he’d cynically used to collect a large proportion of postal votes from the elderly and whose house he’d used to open the postal vote envelopes were finding it difficult to come to terms with what they had witnessed.

They were honest people with principles and high moral values who had been unwittingly dragged into Iain Malcolm’s plan to rig the ballot in his favour. This whole affair increasingly played on Tom’s mind and gradually his health started to deteriorate. Unfortunately Tom was torn between his loyalty to the movement, his duty as a party official (he was the local party treasurer) and his own consounce.

For months Tom agonised as to whether he should contact the police or confide in another party official but he didn’t know who he could trust after witnessing councillor Iain Malcolm ballot rigging in his own front room. Almost a year passed before the opportunity finally presented itself.

Tom’s ill health had prevented him from carrying out his duties as the party teasurer and it had also resulted in him missing a number of executive meetings. He was also unable to produce the treasure’s report for the South Shields Labour party’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) – something which the party’s constitution required.

At a meeting of the executive Iain Malcolm produced a treasure’s report for the AGM (without the knowledge of the treasure) and said that he would sign it off. Two members of the executive objected to this and said that this was unconstitutional, broke party rules and left the executive open to allegations of fraud.

One of the objectors Geraldine White said that she would visit Tom at his home to see if he was happy to sign off the report produced by Iain Malcolm and would report back. This was reluctantly agreed.

PARTY TREASURER, TOM TAYLOR REVEALS ALL- Part 3 of this disgraceful act of betrayal and election fraud will follow shortly.

30
Mar
09

Exclusive: Good news for King street .. at last

'Good news for KIng St, Sports Direct will be opening soon'

'Good news for King St, Sports Direct will be opening soon'

EXCLUSIVE: Mr Monkey can exclusively reveal that South Shield’s beleaguered town centre is about to receive a welcome boost.

Newcastle United’s owner Mike Ashley, is set to open a branch of Sports Direct in South Shields.

The news comes at a time when Mr Ashley, the under-fire Newcastle United owner is expanding his business portfolio in an effort to establish his dominance over rival sportswear retailer JJB Sports.

Mr Monkey can confirm that Sports Direct has acquired the former Woolworths site on King Street and is set to open it’s doors to the public in June.

This chimp can also confirm that Sports Direct decision to open a store in South Shields has nothing to do with the council, the council leader or South Tyneside Means Business – just in case the council’s Office of Propaganda were thinking of claiming the credit!

Mr Monkey wonders whether this latest addition to a ‘thriving King Street’ means we’ll be seeing more of our shopaholic invisible MP, David Miliband .. sadly not, Mr Monkey has just learned that Sports Direct doesn’t sell Arsenal tops.




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