MP accuses Somerset County Council
Bridgwater and Somerset West MP Ian Liddell Grainger has been taking aim at Somerset County Council . Again. His accusations have all been made under the cover of Parliamentary privilege. Again We’ll let Hansard fill in the picture for you:
“We in the Bridgewater and West Somerset constituency accept that the lockdown was vital and we appreciate the extra help for businesses, but will my right hon. Friend consider urgently the way in which Government help for local authorities is being paid? Somerset County Council has been given huge grants but has then diverted much of the money to balance its books, which is not what it was for. These cowboys want to become a new unitary authority. It is a con trick to use that cash, which was meant to fight covid. The Prime Minister is Somerset born and bred. I urge him to put a stop to this, so that the money goes to the people who need it most—the people of Somerset.“
As ever with our colourful MP, this needs unpicking. Firstly, he of all people should know that the Prime Minister was not born ion Somerset. unless that is, New York City has changed allegiance in the last 48 hours. We could forgive it if it wanted to just now.
Secondly the substance of the remarks is, according to Somerset County Council, completely untrue. They have promised The Leveller® a full statement on this. They will also be writing to the Prime Minister. Why? well it seems he took the MP for Bridgwater and Somerset West at his word. This is what the PM, according to Hansard, had to say….
“My hon. Friend is absolutely right to highlight what is going on in Somerset. The county obviously has a duty to use covid grants for that purpose and not for any other. I thank him for drawing attention to what is going on.”
A spokesman for Somerset County Council said: “We will be writing directly to the Prime Minister to set the record straight, but we can confirm that ALL covid grants received from the Government have been used as they were intended – to help residents, communities and businesses in Somerset