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"Blair's refusal to answer question an affront to Democracy" says Rochdale MP.

February 21, 2006 3:07 PM

Rochdale MP Paul Rowen this afternoon quizzed the Prime Minister on Labour's increasing reliance on the Conservatives to prop up the administration.

Paul asked: "The Leader of the Opposition has offered the support of his Party to get the Government's Education Bill through the House. Is the Prime Minister aware that in Rochdale Labour are in Coalition with the Conservatives? Can he envisage such a thing happening here?"

In reply, Mr Blair refused to answer the question that was asked.

Speaking after the debate, Paul Rowen said: "The New Labour Machine has lost its shine, and more and more people are rejecting their culture of spin and pretence - just look at the recent bye-election in Dunfermline. I'm not surprised that the Prime Minister ignored the question - Tony Blair knows he's in trouble. He is continually refusing to answer questions in Prime Minister's Question Time, just like in this instance he choosing to say what he wants. Blair's refusal to answer questions is an affront to Democracy."

Paul continued, "In Rochdale, the Labour administration that was voted out of office by the electorate in 2004 has been kept in power by the Conservatives. Nationally, as Tony Blair faces more conflict in his party than ever before, Tory Leader David Cameron has offered to support unpopular measures like the Education Bill. It's a peculiar position, having a failing Government or Council propped up by the so-called Opposition - and it doesn't wash with the public. In Rochdale, many people who voted for Labour or the Conservatives are disgusted with these coalitions.

"Yet David Cameron felt able to ask Liberal Democrats to defect and join an anti-Labour party! Just like the Tories' supposed new-found respect for minorities, the environment and civil liberties, it smacks of cynical opportunism.

"That's why I have written to Mr Cameron today to ask about these inconsistencies. As Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, is he happy that the Tories have backed every Labour cuts in Rochdale, cuts that affect some of the most vulnerable people in Rochdale? Does he approve of Socialist policies being delivered by Conservatives councillors?

"When polling day comes, the public wants to be able to make a clear choice about the people and the policies that they are backing. Sadly, when Labour and Tory politicians are prepared to horse-trade their principles like this, the electorate and democracy lose out."