The now notorious dossier on Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has been seized on for its description of his spiteful, rude, and generally childish conduct. But Labour says that behind the headlines, there are more serious issues that must be addressed.
The dossier, compiled by Tory council leader Tim Taylor, sets out in detail a series of shocking claims. It says:
• Liddell-Grainger worked covertly with the Liberal Democrats to subvert joint working between West Somerset and Taunton Deane councils. It is said that he phoned a Lib Dem MP to try to scupper the deal.
• He did his best to destroy West Somerset’s relationship with EDF and to stop a fair distribution of funds from the building of Hinkley C.
• He undermined efforts by the council to develop the economy of Minehead as a coastal town.
• He said that £40,000 could be found, to switch the date of a proposed referendum on West Somerset’s council tax. The idea was to use public money to save Tory county council seats.
• He made groundless accusations of improper conduct against individual councillors.
The colourful language used by Liddell-Grainger and his Tory opponents has grabbed attention. But something more important has been going on than an MP telling a council officer to “bugger off!”
The examples cited above show that Liddell-Grainger has been actively harmful to West Somerset over issues that affect everyone living here.
If he had had his way, West Somerset council would have been “evaporated”. The sensible arrangement with Taunton Deane which has kept our council viable would have been blocked. West Somerset would not have secured a fair deal from EDF. And the council would have been frozen out of efforts to revive the economy of Minehead.
Taylor’s dossier is highly personal. It contains a lot about insults and hurt feelings. But we must look beyond that side of it, to the real political issues. The conclusion to be reached is that we need an MP who would work properly for West Somerset and councillors with an ethos of public service.
I believe voters in West Somerset will respond by voting for Labour’s parliamentary candidate, Mick Lerry, and for Labour candidates in the district council election.
West Somerset Labour Party