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Gloucestershire County Council has withdrawn funding for 10 libraries, including Hester's Way as part of a cuts programme that could total £120 million in the next four years.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