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Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger

Sedgemoor MP asks Boris for referendum over reform of local government in Somerset

IAN Liddell-Grainger yesterday called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to allow a referendum over radical plans to change the way Somerset is run.

The Government is currently considering two rival plans and is providing an online survey for the public to have their say.

But Mr Grainger, Conservative MP for Sedgemoor and West Somerset, says that is not enough.

And during Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons he asked for the people of Somerset to have a proper say.

Their exchange can be found here:

Last night he went further and raised the question with Secretary of State Robert Jenrick  during a debate on local government financing.

He said: “At Question Time today I told the Prime Minister that the people of Somerset deserved a proper referendum. I got the clear impression he is sympathetic.

“So, I am horrified to learn that the Ministry intends to use an online survey instead.

“I’ve had a good look at ‘Citizen Space’ as it is called. Anyone anywhere can fill in a Citizens Space survey. There’s no verification. You could log in from Beijing or Moscow. Its wide open to hackers.

“And, frankly, It isn’t good enough. Somerset is not going to put up with it.

“The people want a referendum. The districts want a referendum. Please don’t force us to do it ourselves.”

The proposals for reform include a One Somerset plan, preferred by Somerset County. Details can be found here:

The alternative is the Stronger Somerset plan, favoured by both district councils and Mr Liddell-Grainger. Details of this can be found here:


                                                     May Elections

ANOTHER controversial issue, as reported on this website yesterday, is Somerset County Council’s call to postpone the local government elections in May 6.

Mr Liddell-Grainger told Mr Jenrick: “Local elections in England are now set for May 6. To postpone them in Somerset would look absurd – the Cabinet Office has already included Somerset on the election list.

“Surely the Local Government Ministry is not going to put a spanner in the works?

“I sincerely hope not. The people of Somerset will not take it lying down. Neither will I.”


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