Cliffgate was a cry for help - MP Sir Henry Bellingham responds to Cliff Jordan's claims MPs need to 'up their game'
PUBLISHED: 15:20 19 March 2018 | UPDATED: 17:59 19 March 2018
A county council leader's attack on Norfolk's 'also ran' MPs was a cry for help, one of them said today.
Cliff Jordan claimed the county’s nine MPs needed to do more for Norfolk.
He said on Nick Conrad’s show on Radio Norfolk: “Somebody has to tell them ‘up your game’.
“Our MPs need to back us a lot harder than they have been. They have been a lot in the shadows, a lot of criticism and I get really fed up with them, because they cost us Norfolk people a lot of money. They need to earn their corn.”
Mr Jordan was critical of South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, Norwich South MP Clive Lewis and Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis.
An official complaint has been made to Conservative Central Office about Mr Jordan’s remarks.
Today North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham said: “It was a cry of frustration.
“I think what he was trying to say was that Norfolk is entering tough financial times, the climate is going to incredibly difficult.
“The regret I have is he made it personal. Being leader of the county council, you’ve got to be able to build relationships.
“I hope we won’t see a re-occurrence of this unjustified criticism of MPs. There’s a lesson for Clifford Jordan here and I hope he learns it.” Mr Bellingham spoke after today’s A47 dualling summit at King’s Lynn Town Hall, which Mr Jordan did not attend.
Earlier, Mr Jordan, who was elected leader of the county’s ruling Conservative group in May 2016, said he stood by his comments.
“This has got nothing to do with politics it’s about the way the members of Parliament act,” he said.
“Whether they like it or not austerity is their problem as well as ours and they should be doing what they can to help us balance our finances.
“MPs think it’s local government’s problem but it’s not.
“What I’m trying to do is provide funding for the most vulnerable, people with disabilities. They’ve got the right to expect a certain level of service.”
Sir Henry said that the government had found extra money for the police and NHS in Norfolk.
He added: “As far as austerity is concerned, every MP is getting letters every day asking for money for every department.”