UK

David Cameron Faces Calls For Questioning Over Letter To Oxfordshire Council Decrying Cuts

12/11/2015 09:22 GMT | Updated 12/11/2015 15:59 GMT

David Cameron has been accused of breaking government rules after he wrote a letter offering his local council's leader exclusive access to the Downing Street policy unit.

A Labour shadow minister, Jon Ashworth, rebuked the Prime Minister on Thursday, alleging that Cameron had breached the ministerial code by conflating his government role with that of a constituency MP.

Cameron came under fire for penning the letter that complained budget cuts were hitting vital services - somehow failing to remember his own government's role in tightening the nation's purse strings.

He offered Conservative leader of Oxfordshire County Council Ian Hudspeth a meeting with the Number 10 policy unit in an attempt to mitigate cuts to local residents, including those in his own constituency of Witney.

But the Prime Minister was admonished by Hudspeth, who pointed out in response that 40% of senior staff on the council had been laid off, with a total of 2,800 job losses across the board.

After the pair's exchange, shadow minister Ashworth rounded on the PM's comments, saying he doubted Cameron was offering other councils the same access to top policy wonks and accused him of "conflating" his parliamentary roles.

The Cabinet Secretary had been written to "to look into it", he said, adding: "We would like a ruling from Sir Jeremy Heywood about whether this breach."

Ashworth's letter querying a potential breach of the ministerial code reads: “Is it the case that if the prime minister has made this offer of ‘further dialogue’ available to the leader of his local county council, similar offers should be made to all the leaders of other councils?

"Surely the leader of the prime minister’s county council should not be given preferential treatment?”

He goes on to ask for confirmation of whether the proposed meeting between Hudspeth and Cameron's policy unit ever took place and whether similar offers have been made to other council leaders.

Cameron's Letter


Hudspeth's Letter to Cameron


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