Labour unhappy PM brought his Cabinet to city
By The Bristol Post | Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 05:00
THE Labour Party has complained about David Cameron's decision to bring his Cabinet to Bristol this week.
MP Michael Dugher has written to Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood alleging a "potential breach" of strict rules governing official announcements ahead of tomorrow's elections in the city, when voters are being asked to choose Bristol's first ever directly elected mayor, as well as the post of Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset.
During the six weeks before a vote national and local government departments are advised not to make any new policy announcements which could be seen as giving one side in an election an unfair advantage or which might commit an incoming candidate to a controversial policy they do not support.
Mr Dugher wrote: "There are strict rules dealing with propriety in the run-up to elections. As Cabinet Office guidance from before mayoral elections this year states, care needs to be taken over government activities that could have a bearing on the election, particularly to ensure that public resources are not used for 'party political purposes'."
The Cabinet meeting was held in the John Cabot Academy in Kingswood on Monday.
Afterwards Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced £100 million of spending to revamp Temple Meads station.
Mr Cameron later went out campaigning with Tory Police Commissioner candidate Ken Maddock, while Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg showed his support for mayoral candidate Jon Rogers.
Mr Dugher asked whether the government had sought advice on whether the visit complied with the rules, and queried the cost of the meeting.
A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said: "Normal government business continues during local and mayoral elections, with full regard for the established Cabinet Office advice."