Gateshead is part of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority. It is run by a joint committee consisting of councillors from the five constituent councils. Hardly renowned for gripping debates, the committee is unlikely to have a queue of people eagerly waiting to get into the meeting to listen intently to councillors discussing the great issues of the day. Until today, that is.
For today, I am informed, Labour put on a great show in which they manned the barricades and battled with themselves for the role of chair. Labour are the majority party so the role is theirs until such point as they lose their majority. Sunderland is the lead authority and would normally expect to hold the chair but this time, there was a challenge. Gary Haley from Gateshead threw his hat in the ring and went head to head with the new member for Sunderland. No one won. The score was 7 votes each. The vote was run again but as no one had changed their mind, the result was simply a reheat of the first one.
Could it be third time lucky? Yet again, the vote was rerun but no one was in the mood for changing. So it was another score draw. The committee broke up without a chair being appointed. An extra meeting has now been called to be held in a couple of weeks.
And if that fails to resolve the matter, presumably there will be a penalty shoot out.
I thought it was just Gateshead Labour group that were incompetent when it came to filling appointments - they were still making committee appointments 5 months after the annual council meeting last year. I have now discovered that this inability to sort an appointment extends much further in the Labour Party.