Hartlepool MP's 'cobbled together' comments labelled 'disrespectful'

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Opposition councillors in Hartlepool have vowed to help work on a new government funding bid and echoed council leader concerns over criticisms from the town's MP.

Hartlepool Borough Council leader Shane Moore last week hit back after the town’s Conservative MP Jill Mortimer said a failed bid for £20m from the Government’s levelling up fund was “cobbled together”.

Mrs Mortimer, speaking on BBC1’s Politics North programme, had said: “They cobbled together an application in about a fortnight and, I will be honest with you, I was not surprised when it didn’t go through.”

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At the latest full council meeting, Councillor Jonathan Brash, deputy leader of the Labour group, said he agreed with Cllr Moore and labelled the MP’s comments as “disrespectful” to hardworking council officers.

Labour Hartlepool borough councillor Jonathan Brash.Labour Hartlepool borough councillor Jonathan Brash.
Labour Hartlepool borough councillor Jonathan Brash.

Cllr Brash said: “The Labour group is absolutely ready and willing to work constructively cross-party without any shadow of a doubt to shape that new bid in the effort to get it successful next time.”

He added they would “absolutely participate” in any delegation to Westminster to lobby over the issue.

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Cllr Sue Little, independent representative in Seaton, added she was “appalled” by the MP’s comments and praised council officers, pointing to Hartlepool’s successful Tall Ships bid.

Denise McGuckin, managing director, reiterated she is “extremely proud of the team of dedicated and hard-working officers” the council has.

Responding to council comments made after TV interview, Mrs Mortimer said: “I look forward to working with Shane, and his team, to secure the funding Hartlepool and the amazing people that call this fantastic town home rightfully deserves.”