West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has hit out at the Conservative Party and event organisers who chose not to recognise West Lancashire as part of Lancashire Day celebrations in Parliament.
The event titled “Taste Lancashire” and sponsored by key Government Whip and Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson had no business representation from West Lancashire.
MP Rosie has hit out saying the Tories continue to ignore areas like West Lancashire when promoting Lancashire and the Northern Powerhouse.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“This is extremely disappointing and another smack in the face for the people of West Lancashire who are suffering from Tory cuts to basic public services, and we’re not even deemed worthy of an invite to a Lancashire Day event held in parliament.
“With the name of the event “Taste Lancashire”, I could have put Mr Stephenson in touch with many budding and successful West Lancashire businesses who I am sure would have loved the opportunity to take part, only recently I met with Soupreme Foods.
“The Conservative Northern powerhouse concept once again completely bypasses West Lancashire as initially did the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and its arc of prosperity.
“It’s taken a lot of work to improve the relationship with the LEP but it seems like West Lancashire has a lot of work to do to be considered and included as an integral part of Lancashire by the current regime!
“We had a really inclusive event some years ago when MPs were included and asked to nominate businesses from their constituency but sadly not this time.”
When challenged by MP Rosie, Mr Stephenson pointed to his own issues in East Lancashire and struggling to engage with Lancashire County Council and the LEP. However, MP Rosie was dismissive of this given he is a Tory Whip in a Tory Government, with a Tory Lancashire County Council and Tory Pendle Borough Council, which doesn’t say much for Tories working together!
Mr Stephenson also informed Rosie that the organisers had contacted named businesses but they weren’t even in the West Lancashire constituency, and even one based in Greater Manchester. Hardly a great recommendation for “knowing Lancashire businesses.”
MP Rosie responded:
“Unfortunately, it seems the organisers don’t have a clear grasp of county, borough or constituency boundaries. A walk through Shevington village, across the M6 and around Gathurst Golf Course to get to West Lancashire is more than just “literally a few steps” from West Lancashire.
“Rather than try and make excuses, I would much prefer if the organisers researched a little more and found a wider range of businesses from across the county and included genuine West Lancashire businesses.
“They could have done this via the MPs. I regularly nominate for Pub of the Year, Hotter Shoes were shortlisted for a CSR award in parliament which I nominated them for, there are three shortlisted from West Lancashire for the Film the House Awards this year, and I’ve even had a West Lancashire brewer in the House of Commons bar with their draught ale.
“So the anger is twofold at this clear omission of West Lancashire, but is indicative of the wider issues we have in being included in anything, be it a simple Lancashire Day celebration right up to road and infrastructure investment and it would be remiss of me not to make this point very loud and clear to those at the highest levels in the county.
“I have urged Mr Stephenson to think further afield and include all four corners of Lancashire in future endeavours to promote our County.”