Labour says the public feud among Tories in West Somerset raises questions that must be answered, both by supporters of Ian Liddell-Grainger and by the Conservative councillors who say he is “dishonourable” and not fit to be in Parliament.
Andy Lewis of West Somerset Labour Party said:
“The motion of no confidence in Liddell-Grainger from senior members of his Party raises many issues. These are some of the questions that need to be answered:
• Liddell-Grainger has been accused of bullying. His victims are said to have included staff at West Somerset Council who cannot defend themselves. Will the Conservative Party carry out a full investigation into this claim?
• What exactly is Liddell-Grainger’s policy on one of the underlying issues – the allocation of money to West Somerset from Hinkley C? This row dates back to September 2012, when he made remarks in Parliament that angered West Somerset councillors. He claimed at the time to have been misunderstood. But what he actually thinks about this issue remains unclear.
• Councillors who broke ranks to condemn their MP have said that the final straw was the now notorious removal of Tim Taylor from an official photo. If that practical joke had not taken place, would they still be giving public support to an MP who behind the scenes was actively undermining them?
“On the first point, our understanding is that far from investigating the serious allegations against Liddell-Grainger, Bridgwater and West Somerset Conservative Association is taking action against Taylor, which is why he has announced he will not be standing in the district council election in May.
“On the issue of policy: once you strip out the rudeness, who really knows what our ill- informed MP thinks about anything? But what is clear is that he has failed to support West Somerset as he should have done.
“On the issue of the photo, we believe that if Somerset Labour had not exposed this juvenile prank, councillors would have remained silent and the Tories would have gone into the elections this year with an utterly hypocritical display of unity.
“Taylor and his council colleagues have portrayed themselves as victims. But no-one on the Tory side comes out of this with much credit.”
West Somerset labour Party
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