Local Government

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 10:32 pm on 5th February 2008.

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Photo of Michael Ancram Michael Ancram Conservative, Devizes 10:32 pm, 5th February 2008

I have a factual question, to which I hope the Minister can give me a factual answer. He will remember that a paper called "Invitation to all councils in England to submit proposals for unitary status" was sent out. Paragraph 3.5 of that original document states:

"it will be necessary for any proposal to have support from a range of key partners, stakeholders and service users/citizens."

When the results were published, the words "service users/citizens" had disappeared. Furthermore, the notes provided by the Minister's Department for this debate refer to the invitation process and say that one of the criteria was supported by

"a broad cross section of partners and stakeholders".

Once again, the citizens have disappeared. Why did they disappear when he realised that they were going to vote against him?