MP DEMANDS WITHDRAWAL OF MISLEADING LABOUR LEAFLET
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MP DEMANDS WITHDRAWAL OF MISLEADING LABOUR LEAFLET

Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff has written to a leading Labour county councilor demanding the withdrawal of a leaflet that makes claims about the plans for Hartlebury castle that are “simply untrue" and contains “not a single shred of truth."

In a letter to County Councillor Rob C Peachey, Peter Luff writes,

"Although you and I are on different sides of the political fence, I have always believed you to be an honest man. I am sure, therefore, that you will wish to correct the statements attributed to you in a leaflet circulating in Worcester at present.

"The Nunnery Rose quotes you, under the headline "Tories to buy a castle with your council taxes" as saying "Labour councillors have discovered yet another huge waste of your taxes - £3.5 million on a castle - whatever next!"

"This is a reference to Hartlebury Castle, in my constituency, historic home for over a thousand years to the Bishops of Worcester and now to the Worcestershire County Museum, and it is simply untrue. The council is simply not spending £3.5 million on a castle, but acting as a catalyst to ensure the debate about its future is open and well informed.

"The decision of the Church Commissioners to move the Bishop of Worcester to a new home in the City and to sell the two-thirds of the building not leased to the county, has meant that there has to be a debate about the castle's future. The county council has done a wonderful job exploring ways in which the private, public and voluntary sectors can come together to keep this historic building open, and it has estimated the total cost of acquisition, repair and improvements to enable public access at £3.5 million.

"But as you know - or certainly ought to - there has never been any question of the county council, bearing this cost, which is, anyhow, only a rough estimate. This cost estimate is to inform the conversations the county council must have with potential partners in the private and voluntary sectors and to enable any bids to be made to relevant funding bodies, such as the Heritage Lottery Fund.

"So there is not a single shred of truth in the article to which you have apparently contributed. There has never been a moment when the council, even considered writing out a cheque for £3.5 million to buy the castle - and this was confirmed at a public meeting at the castle last week, attended by me and your Labour Party colleague, county councilor John Buckley.

"In the interests of the integrity of the political process, I am therefore asking you to suspend any further distribution of the leaflet, and to inform all your Labour colleagues in the county of the serious inaccuracies in the story."

Commenting, Peter said,

"I am very sorry that the Labour Party is seeking to make political capital out of this issue. The future of Hartlebury, and its famous Hurd Library, can be secured at little or no cost to the public sector. Instead of making these false allegations, local politicians of all political persuasions should be congratulating the hard working council officers who have done so much to safeguard this vital part of our county's history."


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