Mayor James Palmer hits back at 'baseless, spurious and often personal attacks' on him by Cambridgeshire Lib Dems

PUBLISHED: 12:28 09 September 2019

Mayor James Palmer has hit back at Lib Dem criticism of his running of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority. He called the criticism 'meandering' and 'baseless'. Picture; CAPCA

Mayor James Palmer has hit back at Lib Dem criticism of his running of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority. He called the criticism 'meandering' and 'baseless'. Picture; CAPCA

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Mayor James Palmer hit back at "baseless, spurious and often personal attacks" on him by Cambridgeshire Lib Dems.

Responding to a Lib Dem report on devolution sent to a Government committee, Mayor Palmer said the claims are "without foundation or foundation, and are sounding increasingly desperate".

He said: "I always stand ready to engage and respond to those who want to rationally and sensibly challenge the work of the combined authority.

"When the accusations are so meandering, so lacking in detail and so full of hyperbole, I think it actually discredits them and does a disservice to the people in the county that they are supposed to be representing."

He said: "The local Liberal Democrats are evidently positioning themselves as blockers and as wreckers of the projects we are bringing forward to tackle the urgent challenges around housing, transport and skills that we have in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

"This is no more clearly evidenced than at overview and scrutiny committee meetings, where, rather than challenging the combined authority to make its work better, which is what they should be doing, they resort to inaccurate claims and personal attacks on me.

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Mayor Palmer accused the Lib Dems of trying to block his plans for the MoD site in Ely as an example.

"But we will not be distracted by such behaviour," he said. Schemes allowing for a £1 billion investment in infrastructure had been submitted this summer and more schemes were in the pipeline.

Criticism too, he said, of the combined authority business board was "another opportunity for a series of inaccurate claims" and a local industrial strategy was evidence of the board's work.

Mayor Palmer said: "So rather than carry on in this way, I challenge the Liberal Democrats to come up with realistic and substantive alternative solutions to our housing crisis, to our ageing transport infrastructure and to our skills gaps."

Devolution, he said, had provided Cambridgeshire and Peterborough with an opportunity to bring forward schemes that will be "truly transformational.

"Yet the Liberal Democrats, thus far, are not bringing anything constructive, or any bold, innovative ideas to the table. I'm ready to listen, but they seem content to focus their energies on attempts at political point-scoring".

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