The Gloucester MP, Richard Graham, finally found some spine yesterday and asked a slightly awkward question in Prime Ministers Questions yesterday. I have to say I was rather impressed, not being one to rock the boat, he pressed the prime minister with his question “The Prime Minister will know of the good progress made in the regeneration of my constituency Gloucester. The next phase is the regeneration of city centre assets currently owned by the RDA. Would the Prime Minister agree with me that in line with our localism agenda the best thing now is to transfer those assets as soon as possible to the city council for the development for the benefit of the city and can I highlight how much support this has within Gloucester?”
In essence, he is pushing the Prime Minister to say that RDA owned assets should be owned by the local council.
Cameron replied “Can I pay tribute to my honourable friend for what he does to help drive the regeneration agenda in Gloucester. I think there are real opportunities now that the regional development agencies, which were unloved in so many parts of the country, now they are going and we are having stronger local enterprise partnerships I think there’s much more room for good local development including in Gloucester.”
Basically, a really long “no” answer. It must be quite disheartening to ask a fairly controversial question like that and get absolutely nothing to show for it. It looked like he turned up on time and didn’t break any rules either, but will have had a slight black mark against him. It must be quite embarrassing to be publicly “blanked” by your own leader.
Though I would also query the first part of Camerons answer, in I’m not exactly sure what Graham has done to drive the regeneration agenda in Gloucester. But then I’m sure he has turned up to an opening or two!
This was reported in the local paper today too, with a response by Parmjit Dhanda “Cameron didn’t answer the questions at PMQs. The harsh reality is his government is trying to sell-off assets owned by the state in our city which could be used for regeneration. This is the same Prime Minister who came to Gloucester promising to back £20 million of labour investment in a new school and then cut it by £6 million when coming to office. The gap between what this government promises Gloucester and then takes away from us gets bigger each day.”
His point about the £6m shortfall is fair, because when it was reported, the chap in overall control was unsure about if the new Academy could be built for that. But time will tell on that score.
So, well done Richard for finally realising for what you are supposed to be doing, but I hope that is not it. You will actually have to do some work now too, to follow it up!
- Prime Minister’s Questions (number10.gov.uk)