Lib Dems claim £100,000 of Labour hypocrisy

September 25, 2007 12:00 AM

Research by Rochdale Liberal Democrats has revealed that nearly £100,000 of local Council Tax payers money was spent on outside consultants by Labour in Rochdale between January 2001 and September 2002. The cash was spent on research carried out by Vision 21, a Director of the company is Labour's Parliamentary Candidate, Simon Danczuk. Labour controlled the council at the time with 31 Councillors and were led by former Councillor Peter Roberts, with Councillor Allen Brett (Mr Danczuk's Agent) as Deputy Leader.

Present Council Leader Alan Taylor said: "Much has been made by the Rochdale Labour Party against the use of outside consultants. It now appears that under their stewardship they paid an outside consultant made up mainly of Labour activists, including Rochdale's Labour Parliamentary Candidate to do research from 2001 until September 2002. This was at a significant cost to the Council Tax Payer and I will be pushing to find out what actually became of their 'research'. This stinks of double standards by Labour at best - at worst a charge of cronyism must be levelled at the local Labour Party.

"This is not the first time that Mr Danczuk's company has come under the spotlight. They came under fire in August 2006 when it emerged that Vision 21 had undertaken a questionnaire, surveying the members of the Rochdale Labour Party. It was suggested that, as Mr Danczuk had access to members' views, that this might give him an unfair advantage in the parliamentary selection. Mr Danczuk was described at the time as Downing Street's 'favoured candidate' - this at a time when Tony Blair was still the Prime Minister. He was subsequently selected just months afterwards in a troubled selection process."

Paul Rowen MP said: "I am amazed at this and it just goes to show that Labour do one thing in power and say another in opposition. The Lib Dems on this Council have been using outside consultants aimed at bringing many millions of regeneration money. We have been hugely criticised for this by Labour in particular. We have always been open and transparent in the way we do this. What tendering process did Labour use in 2001? Did they also know that Vision 21 was fronted by Labour activists? Serious questions need to be asked about their hypocrisy, revealed because Vision 21 still use Rochdale Council's crest on their website claiming that our Council are their 'clients'. I would suggest that they remove this as it is clear that we no longer use them. It is clearly misleading their potential customers."