- Labour party tries to cover up lies as Liberal Democrats reveal Labour MP had no office open to the public
- Nearly a year after Jeff Smith MP was elected for Manchester Withington and an a last minute office is scrambled together with absolutely no signage and hidden away from public streets after the Liberal Democrats press for answers.
Residents in south Manchester have been denied access to their local MP by Labour Party complacency in the area.
It has been nearly a year since the General Election and newly elected MP Jeff Smith has only just got round to opening an office in the constituency, due to pressure from the Liberal Democrats.
The Liberal Democrats highlighted the lack of availability Mr Smith offered, which resulted in him opening a last minute office in the constituency just days ago. His website was updated on 28th March with details of his office, only after the Liberal Democrats sent out a letter questioning why he had not made himself available to the people who elected him.
Previously his website offered no permanent address, and the only face to face access was through appointment. In comparison John Leech, the MP from 2005 – 2015, opened an office within weeks of the election, which remained open five days a week for the ten years he represented the area. It was clearly signed on the street with parking.
John Leech, who is campaigning to be elected as councillor for Didsbury West this May, said: “My office was open all day Monday to Friday for constituents who needed our help to drop in with any issues they might have had, as well as eight advice surgeries a month where people could speak to me without an appointment.
“It seems that Jeff Smith is more interested in the Westminster bubble than he is in representing the best interests of the people in our constituency, the task which he was elected to do. It speaks volumes about his cynicism and attitude to the people of south Manchester that he has only just opened this office, after we highlighted the glaring omission. Why had it not happened previously?”
The office is round the back of a large building with absolutely no signage, or directions from the street. A rather different scenario when compared with their office during the 2015 election period which was fully staffed and on a busy public facing street in the middle of Withington village, open to the public all day, every day, with advertised hours, notices and signs. That office was closed down the day after Jeff Smith was elected.
Since Tuesday 29th March 2016 the Labour Party has sent out a series of ambiguous and untrue Tweets in a desperate effort to scramble together a story that the office has always been open. Jeff Smith MP and labour councillors sent out messages on Twitter explaining where the office was and updates his website, only after they were pressed for answers. There is absolutely no record of this address being published prior to 27th March 2016 - after the Liberal Democrats questioned the whereabouts.
Leech added: “This is yet another example of Labour taking people who voted for them for granted, and why we desperately need opposition in Manchester.
"If Labour are left unchallenged they will not work hard to represent the residents of Manchester.”
Contact: Pablo O’Hana
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John Leech was the Liberal Democrat MP for Manchester Withington from 2005 - 2015.
John Leech is standing for council for Didsbury West this May.