Southport – New Tory MP in hot seat over leaflet

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/merseysides-only-tory-mp-accused-14561067

The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site – see link above

I saw a copy of the controversial leaflet last Sunday and what actually stood out to me about it was the fact that local head teachers were pictured in it. I know I would be having a word with any head teacher of a school I was a governor of if they appeared in a political publication – indeed I had to tackle a head teacher over this very type of thing a few years back. Of course they will all quite properly have their own political views but from my perspective head teachers need to be seen to be politically independent.

But yes a green (as in colour, not politics) leaflet from a true blue Tory is odd, maybe the Conservative brand is more than a little ‘damaged goods’ at present because of the May/Corbyn appalling Brexit and the equally appalling Windrush scandal.

And as another thought who paid for the leaflet, the Tory Party or Parliament? Odd that it has been delivered during the election period for Sefton Borough?

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.

Southport – John Pugh MP standing down

My good friend John Pugh MP has decided after many years serving the good folk of Southport that the June General Election is the time for him to step down.

I know John has been an excellent MP not least because opposition party members have told me such. And I don’t mean in tribute after hearing he is standing down but before that whilst he has been Southport’s MP.

Dr. John Pugh Lib Dem MP for Southport

John is independently minded but then again that is the test of a good Liberal. Show me a politician who is prepared to be whipped time and time again to vote for things they really can’t abide and I will likely show you someone who is not a Liberal. Remember John stood out against Nick Clegg’s dropping the the Lib Dem pledge to oppose an increase in Tuition Fees, which were originally brought in by Labour when they were in Government. John was right.

On a subject close to my heart, John has been up front in his support for the revitalistion of rail services into and out of Southport to the east and north of the Town. That is an ongoing campaign that has a long way to run and his successor will have to show the same determination to support and promote that cause because the economic future of Southport is very much bound up in such campaigning.

I can’t say that I always agree with John but hey I’m a Liberal too and hope I have a reasonably independent mind too. What I do know is that John is a deep thinker who analyses every matter before him and you can bet that if you challenge him over an issue he can demonstrate a clear thought process that took him to the view that he holds.

I think Southport has had a really exceptional MP in John and they will be big boots indeed for his successor to fill.

Happy retirement from Westminster John but not from the local political scene.

John Pugh – Southport MP makes a powerful case for being straight with folk

birkdalefocus.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/pugh-to-make-cuts-and-deny-them-and.html

Dr. John Pugh Lib Dem MP for Southport

Dr. John Pugh Lib Dem MP for Southport

My colleague Iain Brodie Browne has covered John Pugh’s recent speech in Parliament – see link above. It is well worth reading especially in times when the majority of us are concerned, no matter what our political leanings are, about those in power not being straight with folk. John sees through the fog of misinformation well.

Fragoff puts the political parties on the spot but Labour fall at the first hurdle!

www.fragoff.co.uk/Response_Local_Plan.html

Fragoff Sefton’s now Borough-wide environmental and save the Green Belt campaign group, which originated in Formby, have now published all the party political representations in response to Sefton Council’s draft Local Plan.

But, where is Labour’s submission? At face value they have not made one but then again it’s Labour-led Sefton Council that has produced the plan that is being pulled apart by all comers so for Labour’s plan just read the draft Sefton Local Plan.

Pugh likens Labour run Sefton to North Korea!

Dr. John Pugh Lib Dem MP for Southport and former Leader of Sefton Council is not known for irrational outbursts; indeed he is a thoughtful man who does not crave media attention as do some politicians. On that basis when someone like John waves a flag of concern we should all take notice.

John waved his flag on the BBC North West Politics TV Programme last Sunday and you can see what he said by popping over to my colleague Iain Brodie-Browne’s Birkdale Focus Blog Site to watch a short video from the show.

Sadly, John has a point as Labour run Sefton is becoming very much like a communist regime. It does not like answering questions put to it at Council meetings and does its utmost not to do so. It will not engage in debate about the policies it is pursuing and it fears being scrutinised by its backbench and opposition councillors.

Take the Full Council meeting held last Tuesday. There were two debates initiated by the oppositions Lib Dems. The first was an attempt to open up the Council’s scrutiny process by having some of the scrutiny committees chaired by opposition councillors. The comrades opposed this but failed to give a single reason why they opposed it. Yes their Leader ranted on, for the benefit of his all too quiet troops who are rarely allowed to engage in debate, about this that and the other but he failed to address the point of the debate. Labour then voted to keep their closed shop very much closed.

We then moved on to a second debate where we again pressed for a 10% reduction in the wages paid to the 7 Cabinet members of the Council to assist with the Council’s need to make savings. Unsurprisingly, the comrades were having none of that even though the money we were trying to save was targeted at bringing back some decent democratic representation in the centre of the Borough where Labour have merged 3 Area Committees used by residents to raise concerns about very local matters. The merger was sold as a cost cutting measure but makes no sense at all – what on earth have communities like Formby, Maghull and Crosby got in common apart from all being within the vast middle of the Borough? So Labour again opposed the proposals but without giving a single reason why they thought that keeping more money in the Cabinet’s pockets is more desirable than improving engagement will local communities. No Labour member representing Crosby, Formby or Maghull rose to back their communities but they all voted to keep money in their Cabinet bosses pockets.

And it’s not just on Sefton Council where Labour closes down information channels. Take little Maghull Town Council where a matter was referred to the Police by the Labour run Town Council a few months ago but we opposition members have been unable to obtain the background documents (despite an FoI request) or the detailed reasons for that referral. Yes, the Police decided to take no action but who was under investigation – staff, people who worked for or with the Council? And what about Maghull Cricket Club? We think Labour are trying to use it as a cash cow to gain higher rents from but even another FoI request has yet to reveal what the Town Council’s objectives are in trying to change a legal agreement with the Club.

On a wider Merseyside platform you can also look at what went on with Labour run Merseytravel in the very recent past and where it seems another big financial scandal is about to be dragged from the undergrowth any day now.

So John Pugh MP has a significant point to make even though at face value it may seem like he is a politician simply throwing a little mud at his opposition. Unless Labour start to open up the local councils they run they will end up being accused of more North Korean type approaches to local democracy.