COUNCILLORS in Darlington indulged in a spot of Punch and Judy politics at a meeting last week, with a report likened to ‘the badly-prepared homework of a child’.

Martin Swainston, a Liberal Democrat member of Darlington Borough Council, made the jibe at a full meeting of the authority on Thursday (March 20).

He was referring to an overview of work carried out under the efficiency and resources portfolio, prepared by cabinet member Steve Harker.

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Each month at full council, cabinet members offer up a review of the main areas of work carried out under their portfolio heading.

Coun Harker’s report included an update on the disposal of surplus land for new housing and a progress report on the ongoing building work for the Department for Education offices, which will adjoin the Town Hall.

Coun Swainston appeared to exception to the brevity of his council colleague’s report.

He said: “This is like the badly-prepared homework of a child and I would suggest that this report is as badly-prepared as you [Coun Harker] were coming to council.”

Coun Swainston was re-elected to the council in 2012, after losing his seat by failing to attend a single meeting in six months.

Making reference to the subsequent by-election and the ensuing cost to the public purse, Coun Harker replied: “It is a bit rich for Councillor Swainston to accuse anyone of not doing their homework.”