POLITICS: Challenging assertions

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I was pleased to read that Joan Tebbutt agreed with the Conservatives that a master plan for county council land in Morpeth was necessary, (Morpeth Herald, March 30).

However, she made a number of other points which should not go unchallenged.

It was suggested that continued engagement over recent months in the Morpeth Forum was somehow useful and the LibDems should be praised for this. I cannot agree.

Labour Leader Grant Davey several times made announcements directly contradicting what had been agreed in the forum just days before.

In short, the forum appeared a meaningless talking shop used to give the illusion of debate and discussion.

The Conservatives and the Greens wanted to withdraw from the forum to highlight this, and they were right to do so.

It was suggested that there is nothing in the Conservative manifesto about engaging with town and parish councils. I have to say this assertion is baffling.

A cornerstone of the Conservative manifesto is the devolution of powers to area councils that will be able to better engage with parish and town councils.

The Conservatives would also restore the rights of town and parish councils regarding planning applications.

The final point was on County Hall, where it was made clear that the Lib Dems would not say whether or not they would cancel the move. This should not come as a surprise.

The fact is there is no comment in the Lib Dem manifesto on the relocation of County Hall. It does not say “we will cancel the move subject to x, y or z”, it simply says nothing at all.

The Lib Dems were split on whether to vote for or against the planning applications on the County Hall site; they were split on a vote to delay the scheme earlier this year, and they abstained on the budgets that provided the money to support the relocation of the building in the first place.

I do not envy Mrs Tebbutt in explaining this on the doorsteps in the weeks running up to the county council elections on May 4.

Richard Wearmouth

Conservative Candidate, Morpeth Kirkhill