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BATTLE OF EARLY DAY MOTIONS AS TORIES STRIKE BACK EN MASSE

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A Commons early day motion singing the praises of Conservative councils was today signed by an enormous number of T...
A Commons early day motion singing the praises of Conservative councils was today signed by an enormous number of Tory backbenchers - 110 in all - after Opposition MPs tabled two motions attacking the practices of Conservative controlled Westminster City Council and Wandsworth LBC.

Motion number 352 - signed by 36 Labour MPs - 'demands that the government comes clean about its links with Westminster City Council in respect of allocation of funds for housing purposes during the course of the past seven years'.

It continues, referring to the alleged gerrymandering through sales of homes, by saying: 'the detailed submissions of housing investment programmes during those years by all local authorities would have clearly revealed the extent of houses for sale'.

A separate early day motion, number 353, calls for an auditor's investigation into practices at Wandsworth LBC, 'noting that like Westminster, Wandsworth was virtually unique in that half the total council homes sold were empty properties to new residents who were overwhelmingly Conservative supporters, rather than sitting tenants'.

It was signed by 35 Labour MPs.

But four Conservative MPs, including former Westminster leader Sir Paul Beresford, tabled an amendment replacing this motion with an assertion that Wandsworth 'instituted a positive borough wide sales policy in 1978 aimed at countering decades of municipalisation and deprivation by earlier Labour administrations.

And the massed backbenchers all put their pens to motion number 375, which tries to further rekindle this familiar old Labour council bashing theme:

'That this House notes that Conservative councils have a record of which they can be proud, including the lowest council taxes, the most efficiently run services, and the greatest value for money; notes that this is in complete contrast to Labour councils, seven of whom have been investigated and criticised by the district auditor since 1990;

'Further notes that Labour councils charge higher council taxes, offer poor value for money, and through their incompetence or worse, have waster hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers' moneys; and believes that the public interest demands the full exposure of the iniquities of Labour councils'.

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