Bedford Borough’s Conservative Councillors have condemned Bedford’s Liberal Democrats, for attempting to “politicise” the impartiality of Parish Councils and their officers.
A letter has been sent by Liberal Democrat Leader, Cllr Vann, to Parish Council Clerks and Chairs around the Borough, making several party political points about the Borough Council’s annual Budget and local GP services. Repeating a number of dubious claims made by the Liberal Democrats during a recent Full Council meeting, which are matters of opinion rather than fact, Cllr Vann’s letter appears to want to pick up the political mudslinging – at which the Liberal Democrats excel – and take it from Borough Hall out into our parish halls and villages.
Parish Councillors routinely deal with matters in a spirit of community service and are fiercely non-partisan. Acting on behalf of the whole village or Parish, rather than any one party, independent Parish Councils represent the diverse views held by their residents.
Conservative Group Leader, Cllr. Graeme Coombes expressed his disappointment saying:
“It is embarrassing for Bedford’s Liberal Democrats that their local leader has put his own political ego before serving the best interests of Borough residents. The letter from Cllr. Vann is completely inappropriate and, making a number of deeply contentious and disputed points, has seemingly been done with the express intent of introducing partisan politics into a traditionally non-political forum.
Most Parish Councils include regular reports on their monthly agendas from the Borough Councillors in whose ward they sit. They hold their Borough Councillors to account on the issues affecting their parish and have no need for slanted partisan rhetoric churned out centrally from party politicians who don’t even live in their patch.
The Conservative Group believes that partisan party politics has no place in our rural Parish Councils – Conservative Councillors will continue to act in the best interest of their Parishes and local residents, not our political party. Cllr Vann’s letter does not empower Parish Councils and does not help residents - it simply takes party politics into another layer of government that was previously non-partisan. The politicisation of Parish Councils does not benefit residents and is not welcome.”