Cornwall Conservatives veto Clegg visit

Local councillors and campaigners are flabbergasted after Conservative-run Cornwall Council decided to prevent Nick Clegg from visiting a key regeneration site in the county.

The Lib Dem leader had been due to visit the Heartlands Project, part of a rundown old mining area which is due to be transformed using a multi-million pound Lottery grant.

Local Lib Dem councillor Kim Willoughby said that she couldn’t understand why the council had blocked the visit. She told This is Cornwall:

Nick Clegg was excited about coming. It was going to be a fantastic opportunity for the project but, pretty much as soon as Cornwall Council got wind of it, it came about that it was not going to go ahead. They said it was going to be during an election period, but an election hasn’t been called. The visit was due to happen very soon, not during the election period.

Meanwhile Malcolm Moyle, a member of the Heartlands’ board, and a staunch Labour supporter, said:

I’m in favour of anything that we can do to publicise it. I would welcome the leaders of any political party, as I would welcome any member of the public. I don’t know if there’s an issue with the Lottery, or whether it’s something to do with an impending election. What I do know is that once an election is called you will see all these party leaders visiting schools and so on, so why shouldn’t they come here?

A spokesman for Cornwall Council confirmed that the Liberal Democrats’ had been refused permission to visit Heartlands, saying: “It is not permissible for the council to allow a politician to use council property in the promotion of a political party or political aims.

Cornwall councillor and top blogger Alex Folkes commented:

I can recall times in the past when Lib Dems have been denied access to various projects whilst Tory politicians have had full run. The claim then was that the Tory was a ‘Shadow Minister’. As Mr Moyle says, most projects would welcome a visiting politician as it brings publicity and nobody would mistake allowing a visit for any sort of support for the party.

I presume that no Conservative politicians will be allowed to visit any Council facilities between now and the election.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

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  • Cornish Tories must be stupid, giving Nick such wonderful publicity. By the way can they advise the BBC that in the view of Cornwall’s Council we have entered the election period, so can the BBC stop being partial.

  • Antony Hook Antony Hook 2nd Mar '10 - 9:07pm

    If the Council can be shown to treat members of different parties inconsistenly then the matter could be subject to judicial review or, i the laternative, complaint to the Local Govt. Ombubdsman

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