Letter from Councillor Dale Mulgrew.

February 23, 2007 9:35 AM

I write in relation to the increasingly noisier rantings in this paper by Councillor Ian Duckworth. Every so often Councillor Duckworth 'loses it' - He doesn't check the facts and prefers to try and speak on behalf of this Town - when he has little knowledge of what's actually going on. His letter in a recent edition of the Rochdale Observer says it all - he accuses the Liberal Democrats of changing tack about Congestion Charging. Completely untrue - Paul Rowen MP, Councillor Alan Taylor and our GMPTE Rep - Councillor Peter Davison and the Lib Dem Group have been consistent on this issue. We cannot consider Congestion Charging until we see a dramatic improvement in the Public Transport Infrastructure. It was also at Councillor Alan Taylor's request that the 4 key tests were built into the recommendations from all Council Leaders in Greater Manchester.

Cllr. Duckworth claims that the Liberal Democrats previously signed up to Congestion Charging. Wrong - We signed up to the principle of Congestion Charging whilst insisting that the public were generally in favour, businesses were generally in favour, we still had the ability to attract investment and that only roads that were congested were considered for a charge. We repeated the fact that BEFORE any type of Congestion Charging was brought in - transport was improved. We have not changed our minds on this for as long as it has been discussed.

This case illustrates the problem that the Conservatives have in Rochdale. They are not really relevant to what actually happens in this Town. They tried to punch above their weight by getting into bed with Labour, when that failed they are now adopting the tactic of sitting at the sidelines sniping without actually offering a credible alternative of their own. Just like nationally, locally they are clueless and I'm afraid Ian does the Conservatives no favours whatsoever. It's no wonder that their floppy, national Leader tiptoes outside of Rochdale in places like Bury and Manchester when he has this lot.

Since being elected in May 2005, Ian Duckworth has been consistent. Consistently poor, consistently out of touch and a consistent embarrassment to the fledgling Conservatives in our Town.