Ian Liddell-Grainger who dubs himself as “Your listening MP” has shown himself to be anything but. So says West Somerset Labour Party Secretary Kathrine See who cites the case of Gemma and Adam Lorey who have a disabled son, Max, who relies on an eye gaze system in order to communicate. This is a similar piece of equipment to that used by the late Stephen Hawking. Max depends totally on the support of the Physical Impairment Medical Support Team (PIMST) in order to attend mainstream education. He is a cognitively able student and very happy and settled in his school.
However just before the Easter holidays it came to light that Conservative Somerset County Council had made staff redundant from the PIMST and were intending to significantly reduce the service, without any form of consultation with parents.
No response from ILG
With the prospect of devastating Tory cuts to the PIMST, the Loreys attempted to contact their local MP. However, they received no response.
Having seen Kathrine See in the newspapers campaigning against other Children’s Services cuts they decided to contact her for help. Kathrine says “I have been trying to help the Loreys, so far as I can, with understanding Council documents, preparing questions and publicising their campaign. I also managed to get the BBC Daily Politics show to go to their house and interview them. I am very happy to help them in any way I can, but I am not their MP and he really should meet with them to hear their concerns and represent them and the other affected families in Parliament.”
Case taken up by Kathrine See
Kathrine has subsequently made several attempts to contact Mr Liddell-Grainger on the Loreys behalf but has received no response. She went on that “Ironically, a few weeks ago I bumped into Mr Liddell-Grainger in the street, canvassing for support during a by election. I commented to him that it was very unusual to see him and that it was impossible for constituents to contact him. He acted surprised and hurried away. Since then I have emailed him on at least four separate occasions and telephoned his office but received no replies. I would very much like to meet with him to discuss the PIMST cuts and many other local issues. However, I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility towards the people of Bridgwater and West Somerset, in a way that our MP clearly does not”.
Gemma Lorey says that she is appalled by the lack of regard towards ordinary people shown by her MP “We have written to Mr Liddell-Granger in desperation, but he has ignored our pleas. I know for a fact that we aren’t the only parents who have tried to contact him about this. He clearly has no idea what it is like to be placed in such a helpless situation and genuinely fear for your child’s future. Max could have his voice stolen as a result of these cuts and be left entirely unable to communicate. It doesn’t seem right that someone being paid vast sums of tax payers money to represent us should be able to neglect his duties in this way. We are very grateful for the help and support given to us by Kathrine See, who has made her self available to us at all times of day simply because she cares.”
The Loreys and many other families affected by the cuts invite people to join their protest at 9.30am outside the next Full Council meeting on May 16th, which is being held at the Taunton Rugby Club at 10am.
The Council will then have many questions to answer inside.