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Cheltenham MP hits back over leaflet campaign

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: February 22, 2011

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MARTIN Horwood has hit back at a leaflet campaign that criticises his stance on public spending cuts.

Protesters have distributed hundreds of fliers castigating Cheltenham's MP for backing the coalition Government nationally, but campaigning against cuts to services in the town.

But the Liberal Democrat claims there is no conflict between opposing individual decisions in Cheltenham and supporting efforts to reduce the UK's budget deficit.

Mr Horwood said: "Just because I agree with the coalition Government that we need to tackle a national debt approaching £1 trillion and is costing us £120 million a day in interest alone, does not mean that I have to agree with every cut that is imposed by every local council.

"The library closure in Hester's Way is wrong and I think if other councils manage to avoid cutting libraries then Gloucestershire should have been able to avoid it, too."

The campaign group has put 250 leaflets through doors in St Mark's and handed out hundreds more on the streets.

Rob Bishop, 53, of St Mark's Against The Cuts, a splinter group of Cheltenham Against The Cuts, said: "I got the Lib-Dem leaflet through my door and, like a lot of people I have spoken to, couldn't believe what I saw.

"He's campaigning to save libraries, while his party is part of a Government that is making the cuts threatening the libraries.

"How can he stand there saying he's opposed to cutting services in Cheltenham while supporting the coalition Government?"

The pamphlet claims the coalition is getting away with the "biggest rip-off in history" and hits out at Mr Horwood's opposition to the potential closure of Hester's Way library.

Mr Bishop, of Griffiths Avenue, said: "We've had positive responses from people who have seen the leaflets and agree with what we say."

The Lib-Dems formed a coalition with the Conservatives following last year's election.

The party lost six seats at the election, leaving it with 57 MPs, although Mr Horwood held Cheltenham with an increased majority.

However, since the controversial agreement was struck, national polls suggest support for his party has sunk from nearly 30 per cent to about 10 per cent of the electorate.

Gloucestershire County Council has withdrawn funding for 10 libraries, including Hester's Way as part of a cuts programme that could total £120 million in the next four years.

The facility could stay open if members of the community step in to run it.

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    Colin Felch, Cheltenham  |  February 23 2011, 11:03AM

    I doubt if Martin Horwood and the rest of the judas Lib Dems have a clue what they are meant to be standing for nowadays. If they ask that nice Dave Cameron I'm sure he'll give them their opinion. Still, at least they've got another 3 years yet before they need to start looking for another job.

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    ITK, Cheltenham  |  February 22 2011, 11:00PM

    Martin Horwood seems to get a better tan every time he is pictured in the newspapers. Martin Horwood, you need to decide what camp your foot is in. Please don't say that you can do things for your local community when its obvious to all that you can't. Unfortunately you are now a puppet of Westminster. We can see that and its about time you did as well. If I were a fortune teller, I would foresee a vote of no confidence in the near future. You can't delivery what you promise to your community and you don't hold the party line. Your a Tory now. Accept it.

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    Feckless Eddie, walking the street  |  February 22 2011, 5:11PM

    Mr Horwood, we sent you to Westminster, to represent us. You are now in Government. Please act like a supporter of the government. Your days of saying all things to all men are over. You¿re either support your government or you don't. I am sure if you asked any of your Conservative or Labour colleagues for advice on how to behave as an MP in a ruling party, they would have told you to be consistent and not to have got involved in local politics for which you have no mandate. Unless of course, after the next election, you¿re already thinking you won¿t be an MP and you¿re preparing the ground to be a councillor for Hester¿s Way?

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    paul, My Sofa  |  February 22 2011, 4:18PM

    It would appear that this rag,The Echo,is also a Lib Dem supporter,or else,why has'nt my scathing attacking comment been printed.Democracy rules then,NOT!

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    Mark, Gloucestershire  |  February 22 2011, 1:56PM

    I have to say I find it really fun the Lib Dems moaning about this aspect called free specch. The Lib Dems and Horwood never once suggested an alternative to the cuts that have to happend to balance the Council budget a legal requirement. For years as Lib Dem Watcher has observed they mad epromises never onece thinking they had to be responsible. I rememebr when they with labour ran Shire Hall and wanted to close the special schools. For eysrs they have treated St Marks and Hesters way and St Pauls as their little fiefdom not delivering but just moaning about everyone else. Now they are complaining about people who recognise that. Hmm maybe people in the Town have woken up to these spin merchants.

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    Lib Dem Watcher, Gloucestershire  |  February 22 2011, 11:35AM

    Ever since their party was formed in 1988, Lib Dems have won votes by being all things to all men and by not having any genuine core political beliefs. They promised tax cuts and increased spending in the same leaflets. This was fine when they were always in opposition, they could keep the flaws in their accounting safely hidden. They could criticise governments whether it was the Tories or Labour doing the difficult work of actually running the country. But now they're in government they're having to face up to harsh reality. It's the price they pay for having their leaders picking up ministers' salaries and riding around in ministerial cars. Now voters can see that they're the most shameless political spinners of the lot!

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    Ex Voter, Cheltenham  |  February 22 2011, 7:34AM

    The reason why Martin Horwood increased his majority at the last election is because people were trying to keep out the Conservatives. By going hand in hand with them and forming the coalition Martin Horwood and all the other LibDem MPs are, by default, Conservatives.