Hertfordshire MP - 'I am offended I should have to justify myself over election leaflet claim'

PUBLISHED: 10:13 06 February 2015 | UPDATED: 10:13 06 February 2015

MP Stephen McPartland's election leaflet, in which he boasts of having

MP Stephen McPartland's election leaflet, in which he boasts of having "sealed the deal" over A1(M) widening

Archant

A Hertfordshire MP has been lashed after claiming to have "sealed the deal" on A1(M) widening - and then said he was "offended" at having to justify himself.

Sharon Taylor, Labour's candidate for the Stevenage constituencySharon Taylor, Labour's candidate for the Stevenage constituency

Stephen McPartland, whose Stevenage constituency includes Knebworth, Codicote and Datchworth, boasted of achieving the feat in an election leaflet last week.

The literature featured a picture of Conservative Mr McPartland with Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and was emblazoned with the words: “I am proud to have sealed the deal in Parliament to secure the A1(M) widening on our stretch of motorway between Junctions 6 & 8.”

But, reacting to the claim, Sharon Taylor, the Labour Party candidate for the constituency and leader of Stevenage Council, told the WHT: “Well that’s not quite the case is it?

“Because we’ve not got any widening on the A1(M).

“What we’ve got is tinkering around Junction 6 and, way in the future, hard shoulder running.”

But the MP responded: “I don’t respond to comments by Cllr Taylor, because she is unaware of what is happening locally.

“I am a little offended at the suggestion I need to justify myself.”

But he added: “£8million a mile is a little more than tinkering with the edges.”

Cllr Taylor added: “Mr McPartland really has to back up his claims he has made in his leaflets.

“Hard shoulder running is not a widening scheme.”

She called for a three-lane motorway section through Stevenage to rectify the “anomaly”, for the good of the town and wider region’s economic prosperity.

The wannabe MP also accused Mr McPartland of failing to “fight” for full widening and of caving into a “half-hearted” central Government scheme as an “election gimmick”.

Cllr Taylor claimed hard shoulder running would jeopardise ambulance routes from Welwyn Hatfield to the Lister Hospital, in Stevenage, in a move she described as “a very terrifying prospect”.

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