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Stephen Dorrell on the East-West Expressway

December 2, 2019 12:03 PM

Stephen Dorrell, Lib Dem candidate for Buckingham constituency, answering a question on Expressway at the Buckingham University hustings, 28/11:

The Conservative County Council and Oxfordshire County Council and the Conservative Government have promoted the East-West Expressway as an important element in the planning of this part of the world. And then suddenly there's an election called and they announce a review.

I don't think people will be quite as easily taken in. Consider the track record of the current prime minister. It is not many months since he was a candidate for the Conservative leadership. He went round to Conservative associations making all kinds of commitments, which he is now ditching, a few months later. What does it mean when they say they will have a review on the East-West Expressway? What it means is they know that they are unpopular in this part of the world by continuing to promote a policy that they have promoted consistently for many, many months, indeed for years.

What is wrong with East-West Expressway is what's wrong with a lot of British government, not just in the Department of Transport. That there is a belief that problems can be best solved by clever people in Whitehall. Actually the way you address local problems is by engaging with local communities. It's why I am strongly in favour - Liberal Democrats have been championing this - of stronger local government, addressing the issues in ways that work for local communities. And I'm afraid that the deathbed conversion of Transport Secretary] Grant Shapps at Verney Junction [last week] doesn't persuade me.

SD canvassing, shaking hands


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