Local Press

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:40 am on 20th January 2009.

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Photo of Andrew Slaughter Andrew Slaughter Labour, Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush 11:40 am, 20th January 2009

The hon. Gentleman does not do himself any credit. Given his tone of voice, he could well get a job working for the local paper that my Conservative council produces. That is absolutely not the case. I do not want to be hypocritical about the matter. I have run a local authority, and local authorities produce publications. I am not saying that that is necessarily a bad idea, but it must be clear who is producing them and from where their information and views are coming. I am talking about a piece of subterfuge that prevents the public from knowing the truth in a locality. The hon. Gentleman would do well to follow the example of Boris Johnson rather than the insidious example that I have given. If that is the view of the Conservative Front Bench, that is to be regretted.

I am sorry that that intervention has caused me to take so much time. This is a serious problem, which is growing partly because of the recession, but principally because of the actions of some local authorities. At the moment they are mainly Conservative and Liberal Democrat, but I make the point against any local authority that wishes to subvert democracy in such a way.