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Tory MP accused of 'misleading' attack on Sandwell Council

By Pete Madeley | Sandwell | Politics | Published:

Tory MP James Morris has been accused of launching a 'misleading' and 'politically motivated' attack on Sandwell Council.

'Politically motivated' Conservative MP James Morris

The Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP has become embroiled in a war of words with the Labour-led authority's leader Steve Eling after he criticised the council in a Commons debate.

Mr Morris highlighted allegations of corruption against a number of named councillors and called for Mr Eling to resign.

Now Edgbaston's Labour MP Preet Gill has waded into the row, accusing Mr Morris of failing to recognise 'any of the good work' that Sandwell Council carries out.

Labour MP Preet Gill

In a letter to Mr Morris, Ms Gill, who represents St Paul's on Sandwell Council, wrote: "As I understand it you have not met with the leader of the council, Steve Eling, to discuss your concerns, instead choosing to use the House of Commons chamber to launch a politically motivated attack on the Labour-run council and the leader.

"I was also concerned that some of the individuals you spoke of do in fact have no case to answer.

"To make such comments without evidence or corroborating information is misleading."

Ms Gill pointed out that a Local Government Association investigation had disproved many of the allegations made by Mr Morris, and added: "You failed to recognise any of the good work that Sandwell Council carries out, not least balancing its budget despite years of Tory austerity, maintaining weekly bin collections, not closing any libraries or children's centre and a history of innovation."

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She called on Mr Morris to schedule a meeting with Mr Eling to discuss his concerns.

Mr Morris used a Commons address to highlight allegations of abuse of power, fraud and corruption at the authority. He also urged the Government to send in commissioners.

The MP has subsequently criticised the council over a poor children's services Ofsted report, and claimed that the authority has spent a fortune on silencing staff through confidentiality agreements.

Mr Eling has refused to quit and branded Mr Morris' remarks 'disgraceful'.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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