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Rochdale MP challenges Oldham counterpart

July 18, 2007 12:00 AM

Rochdale MP Paul Rowen has condemned Oldham Labour Councillors for being prepared to see Rochdale, Milnrow and Newhey lose out from vital Metrolink funding. Rochdale Council has written to Oldham Council with their concerns and Mr Rowen has challenged Labour Minister Phil Woolas MP to 'distance himself from his colleagues' position.'

Rochdale's MP said: "I find this unfortunate decision to be opportunistic. Oldham's Labour Council seem to have forgotton a vital fact; the only reason that the expansion of Metrolink is still happening is because in Greater Manchester we have put party and town interests aside and united together as one. I have discussed the problem caused by Oldham Labour's selfish attitude with Lord Peter Smith, the Chairman of AGMA and he has assured me that it remains AGMA's intention to fully support the whole bid. The bid that will make the expansion of Metrolink into Rochdale Town Centre a reality."

Mr Rowen continued: "I am sure that residents in Milnrow and Newhey, currently represented by a Senior Labour Minister will be shocked at Labour's betrayal. Councils in Greater Manchester have a track record of working together and I am surprised at Oldham's withdrawal of support for the Rochdale Metrolink. I am calling on Phil Woolas MP to distance himself from his colleagues. If he doesn't it is clear that he has already forgotten a huge chunk of his Constituents who will be moving to Rochdale at the next General Election.

"I will be raising this issue as Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Light Rail and see if we can get more Councils to work together. It is only by working together that we will see results."