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Kemp defends embattled Somerset chief

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David Cameron has been urged to disown Bridgwater MP Ian Liddell-Grainger for conducting a campaign against Somerset County Council chief executive Alan Jones.

Richard Kemp, leader of the Local Government Association Liberal Democrat group, complained to the Conservative leader after the MP accused Mr Jones of “acting like Victor Meldrew with a Kalashnikov” (LGC - 30/04/09).

Mr Liddell-Grainger has waged a campaign against what he alleges is Mr Jones’ alleged persecution of Somerset’s former deputy leader Paul Buchanan, who now sits outside the ruling Lib Dem group, and the county’s Southwest One shared service venture.

The MP uses the persona of his cat Mogg to maintain a barrage of internet attacks on Mr Jones. Mr Liddell-Grainger told LGC his staff had placed the material online but his personal responsibility was clear as, “my face is next to the pussy”.

Last week he launched a short film that interspersed Mr Jones’ face with the 1937 hit song Donkey Serenade by namesake Allan Jones.

Cllr Kemp told Mr Cameron: “I object strongly that this odious individual has been able time and again to make accusations about a hard-working and thoroughly professional [officer] like Alan.”

Mr Liddell-Grainger said of Cllr Kemp’s letter: “I could not care less. It’s ridiculous to expect David Cameron to take any notice.”

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