Transport Minister - 'a hypocrite'over congestion charging 'own goal'

September 24, 2008 12:00 AM

Paul Rowen MP - Calls on Ruth Kelly to reaffirm the government's support for Manchester's TIF BidRochdale MP Paul Rowen, the Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Light Rail has branded Ruth Kelly a "hypocrite" after she claimed that the public would not "have the final say" on peak-only congestion charging in return for a significant investment in public transport. At the Labour Party Conference, Ms Kelly said that it would be: "the government that made the final decision." She further told the BBC that the referendum in Greater Manchester was "not the final say". Ms Kelly also said that ministers would still need to: "assess its value for money before giving approval."

Paul Rowen said: "This clumsy intervention from Ruth Kelly shows a politician in panic. She is a hypocrite who is putting her own parliamentary seat in Bolton ahead of her transport job. As a firm supporter of the 'Yes' Campaign, I believe that this is not helpful and I am calling for Ruth Kelly to reaffirm the government's support for the massive transport improvements that a successful TIF Bid will bring. I am sure that supporters of the 'No' campaign will be rubbing their hands in glee at this own goal.

"The TIF Bid was submitted in full consultation with the government and I am surprised at her comments. What she is basically saying is that even if we vote yes, the Government may yet intervene - not exactly a Government that is listening. This centralisation of power doesn't exactly inspire public confidence.

Council Leader Alan Taylor said: "In the light for Ruth Kelly's impending resignation, I hope the new Transport Secretary will back us. It's obvious that Ruth Kelly had one eye on her seat in Bolton and has thrown our plans in jeopardy in one last, selfish attempt to save her job in Bolton.

"The TIF bid is vital to Greater Manchester and brings massive investment in public transport, safeguard jobs and much more. That Ruth Kelly was willing to put this at risk to save her skin is appalling. I know that the Labour Leaders of the seven authorities who back the TIF bid will be horrified."