Monday, December 7, 2009

Coleridge Betrayed

The letter from Chris Howell in today's Cambridge News (but not online) reminds us how Coleridge residents were badly let down when their newly-elected Labour county councillor voted for congestion charging in October.
I WELCOME Richard Normington's letter warning that we may now be heading for congestion charging in Cambridge, without further approval from councillors. The damage was done when a bid to the Transport Innovation Fund was agreed, which included the charge, and council officers have already drafted a report presenting options in detail for how the charge would work.

I would however go further. The problem is that councillors, sadly including the Labour county councillor for Coleridge, have already voted to approve this bid, including the charge. This was despite clear assurances given during the recent county council elections that he was opposed to congestion charging in Cambridge. The only solution is that we should hold a public referendum, free from all the spin of those obsessed with introducing the charge, and let the people decide.
I stood at the recent county council elections on a pledge to oppose congestion charging (Bower's Blueprint, no. 2), so I was really disappointed when I discovered that my Labour opponent, who had spent the whole campaign trying to imply that I would support congestion charging, went and voted for it himself.

While a Labour councillor suggested that pursuing my pledges would have led to me losing the whip if elected, it turns out that only Conservative members and the member for Ramsey voted against the TIF bid that included the government's congestion charging blackmail. Those Conservatives still take the whip. The Labour members for Coleridge and Cherry Hinton could have decided to vote against but they did not.

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