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MP has no truck with Penhill slur
8:00am Friday 27th September 2013 in News
The leaflet, circulated to homes in Covingham and Dorcan, stated: “In his first 18 months, the Labour councillor for Covingham and Dorcan wants to build hundreds of council houses every year – which could lead to a new Penhill being built next to Covingham and Liden because the 8,000 houses to the east is the main area of future expansion.”
Mr Tomlinson said: “The comments in the leaflet are Coun Heenan’s personal opinion and are ones I do not share.
“While I respect the right for councillors of all parties to be forthright in their views, it should be done so in a constructive, positive and engaging manner – this clearly falls short.
“Coun Heenan is a popular and hard working local councillor, but like any elected representative he should always take extra care in the choice of language used.”
Covingham and Dorcan Labour councillor Julian Price has called on Mr Tomlinson to have words with the councillors and apologise on behalf of the Swindon Conservative Party for the comments.
He said: “The demeaning and divisive inference made by the Conservative Covingham and Dorcan councillors about Penhill is frankly shameful and they need to apologise to the people of Penhill over these comments.
“Given the fact that the two Conservative Covingham and Dorcan councillors refused to apologise, I am urging Mr Tomlinson, as the figurehead of the Conservatives in North Swindon, to apologise on their behalf.
“I would hope Mr Tomlinson would agree with me that using a perfectly respectable community like Penhill as a tool for political advantage has to be over-stepping the mark.
“If Mr Tomlinson does apologise for these tactics I think a line can be drawn under the incident and all political representatives can move on and campaign in a more respectful way.”
Coun Heenan criticised Coun Price for not contacting him directly about the issue.
“I can be very clear, nothing negative has been said about Penhill,” said Coun Heenan. “This is a desperate attempt to gain attention by a muddled Labour councillor who is using his own prejudices about Penhill to whip up an issue.
“Julian Price has not contacted Coun Richard Hurley or I about this issue in any way.”
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