Local MPs condemned for blocking independent audit proposals

Bury South MP Ivan Lewis and Bury North MP David Chaytor have been attacked by local Liberal Democrats for helping to vote down proposals for external auditing of all MPs’ expenses.

148 Labour MPs, 21 Conservative MPs and UKIP’s only MP united on Thursday night [3rd July] to vote down the proposal for an independent audit of all MPs’ expenses claims.

No Liberal Democrat MP voted against the audit plans.

Commenting, Vic D’Albert, Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Bury South said:
“This decision by MPs is foolish and wrong. It is a disaster for anyone who believes in cleaning up our politics and improving Parliament’s reputation. The House of Commons had the chance to vote for proper auditing of everything MPs do with public money, but an unholy coalition of Labour and Conservative MPs prevented it.

“I am deeply disappointed that both Ivan Lewis and David Chaytor voted against allowing all MPs’ allowances to be externally audited. 52 of their Labour colleagues joined the Liberal Democrats and some Conservatives in voting for independent auditing. Ivan Lewis and David Chaytor must tell us – why did they vote to water down the proposals?

“Rarely a week seems to pass without a story in the press about MPs apparently fiddling their finances. The vast majority of MPs are not corrupt. But so long as they resist having their expenses and allowances subject to robust, external audit, the public can be forgiven for wondering what they have got to hide.”

Vic D’Albert, Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Bury South welcomed the announcement by Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg that his party is committing to unilaterally introduce proposals rejected by Parliament yesterday, including independent spot checks of the expenses of the party’s MPs:

“It is good to see Liberal Democrat MPs setting an example and showing that they have nothing to fear from open, independent scrutiny of their expenses.

“I hope that the Labour and Conservative leaderships will follow Nick Clegg’s lead in implementing these measures, and we can begin to restore public confidence in politicians.”

Details of how MPs voted can be found here:

Bury Liberal Democrats welcome “No” vote to an elected Mayor for Bury.

A referendum on the issue of an elected Mayor took place on July 3rd, when local people were asked whether they wished to change the way the Council is run. The option to replace the current system with an elected Mayor was defeated.

Commenting on the result, leader of Bury Liberal Democrats, Cllr Tim Pickstone said, “The Lib Dems in Bury campaigned hard for a “No” vote in the referendum, and I am glad that the idea of an elected Mayor has been rejected by local people.”

The “Yes” campaign suggested that the voting for a Mayor would help defeat plans for a congestion charge. Cllr Pickstone rejected this view,: “The idea that a Mayor could stop the congestion charge was always false, and I always thought that local people wouldn’t believe it. Bury Lib Dems continue to oppose the congestion charge, and the Council is now free to carry on working hard to get improved public transport for Bury without this additional tax.”

Cllr Pickstone added, “The issue of the Mayor was always about more than the congestion charge. A Mayor would have meant a less democratic system for local people, and would have cost a small fortune every year. Liberal Democrats believe that decisions should be taken in local communities, not by one person at the Town Hall. We also believe that tax payers money should be spent on better services and lower taxes, not on a big car and a big office for an elected Mayor. The rejection of the Mayor gives us the best chance to continue fighting for real power for local people, and better local services for everyone.”


Vic D’AlbertCommenting on the news that nearly 1m people have lost their NHS dentist since the Government introduced a new contract for NHS dentists in March 2006, local Lib Dems accused the Government of “ignoring the plight of the low paid and building a dental health time-bomb.” 

According to figures from the NHS Information Centre a total of 338,000 people lost their NHS dentistry in the last three months of 2007 – 3,674 people a day.

In the North West the number of people treated plummeted by 61,000 in the 24 months to December 2007, compared to the period up to March 2007.  4 out of 10 North West residents were not treated in the last 24 months.

Vic D’Albert, Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson for Bury South commented. 

“If evidence were needed that the new dental contract is failing then this surely is it.” “This Government is overseeing a crisis in NHS dentistry and as a result more and more people either don’t have a dentist, can’t find an NHS dentist or can’t afford the exorbitant cost of treatment. With dentists and hospitals treating more and more serious dental problems it’s now clear that the long term legacy of this Governments mishandling of NHS dentistry is a dental disease time-bomb.
” We need an urgent review into why reforms undertaken just two years ago have completely failed to improve access and action to get NHS dentistry back on track.”


Vic D’AlbertA leading local Liberal Democrat has called on the Government to start tackling knife crime head on, by first dealing with knives in the home. 

In response to health service research that has identified that most knives used as weapons are kitchen knives, Vic D’Albert, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary spokesperson for Bury South is calling on the Government to press for changes to kitchen knife design. 

Vic D’Albert said, “Most kitchen knives have a sharp pointed end which is rarely if ever needed. Most kitchen knives are needed for chopping and cutting and we just don’t need a pointed end for stabbing! Even my bread knife has a pointed end – god only knows what that is needed for. “Health research has proven that many of these knives end up being used as weapons. If the Government is serious about reducing knife crime then every avenue has to be investigated.  

“Clearly it is a traditional that knives have a pointed end, even when not required. In my mind it is blindingly obvious that at a stroke we could make the home safer and cut the number of dangerous knives in the public domain by designing out the problem. Its time manufacturers responded and the Government needs to make sure that they do”. 

Lib Dems back National Recycling Week

recycle.jpgA UK-wide campaign to encourage people to recycle more of their household waste has been backed by Liberal Democrats in Bury. 

National Recycling Week is being held on 2nd – 8th June. This is the fifth year it has been held. It is run by Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a national organisation set up to help people produce less waste and advise on how best to deal with rubbish in an environmentally friendly way. 

Vic D’Albert, Parliamentary spokesperson for Bury South said, “In Bury the recycling and composting rate is 23%. That means we still have a long way to go before we are dealing with our waste in a way that does not leave a lasting problem for generations to come. 

“Liberal Democrats in Bury are delighted to be able to back National Recycling Week. We are encouraging as many residents as possible to make small changes in their lifestyles which will make large strides to ensuring we do not wreck our environment. 

“We waste a huge amount of food each year – on average we throw away 112kg of food each, most of which is still usable. People can avoid this waste by doing simple things such as producing a shopping list of what food is needed, rather than wandering around the supermarket buying what takes your fancy! 

“Last year in the UK, it was estimated that we spent £8 billion on food that was still fit to be used when it was thrown away. Being green can save money! But if you do produce food waste, why not get a compost bin if you have a garden? 

“People should also try to buy food and other goods which have less packaging. And full use should be made of recycling facilities to dispose of waste. It is better that waste is turned back into something that is useful rather than dumped in the ground. 

 “There is a limit to how much rubbish we can throw into holes in the ground. There comes a point when we have to say that we cannot go on getting rid of waste in this way. 

“I am therefore we could support National Recycling Week  and I hope by highlighting the issue nationally it will be a great success and will help residents of Bury to cut waste and live greener lifestyles.”

Nick Clegg Launches Local Election Campaign

Nick Clegg MP

The Lib Dems have claimed to be the “practical” party of local government at the launch of their campaign for council elections in England and Wales. Leader Nick Clegg said the party’s record was a “success story – quality services, and value for money”.

Speaking at the campaign launch in Sheffield, he accused Labour of failing on crime and the Tories of having “no stomach” for addressing green issues.

The party currently controls 29 local authorities across Britain, and is defending 700 Council seats on May 1st. We also hope to make other gains in Bury, including of course in St Mary’s.

Today, Nick Clegg said the party had come up with local solutions to problems including housing, crime and the environment.

“The Liberal Democrat record in local government is a success story – quality services, and value for money. And we are ready to apply the lessons that we have learned to councils throughout this country. “ He said: “We don’t promise to fix or solve every problem, but we do promise to give people a say, to give them the opportunity to fix things for themselves.”

Iraq Five Years On – Time to Hold our MPs to Account

Its five years since the start of our involvment with the war in Iraq.

Nick Harvey MP – the Liberal Democrat Shadow Defence Minister marks the occasion with this video.

Britain only invaded Iraq because MPs voted for it. Asked on 18th March 2003 to support Tony Blair’s motion for military action against Iraq, Labour and Conservative MPs lined up to vote “aye”.

Both the Conservative and Labour frontbenches in the House of Commons supported the war. The Conservatives even argued that the Government wasn’t being tough enough.

Five years on, over 170 British servicemen and women have been killed in Iraq, along with hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. British taxpayers have poured £6.5 billion into the conflict, and the Conservatives are trying to rewrite history by now calling for an inquiry.

Why not visit the special website – it’s time to hold the politicians who took us to war to account!


Too many families in Bury are losing their homes because of difficulties over mortgage payments, claims Vic D’Albert, Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate for Bury South. 

New figures show that 668 orders for home repossession were issued by Bury county court in 2007. This is a rise of 12% since 2006. 

“668 home repossession orders means 668 families being turfed out of the house they have lived in, often for many years,” said Vic D’Albert. 

“Many people remember the boom and bust policies of the last Conservative government that saw tens of thousands of people lose their home because they could not keep up with mortgage payments. Now it looks as though the current Labour Government has blundered into a similar mess. 

“The Government has failed to ensure there are enough homes to meet people’s needs. For every ten families on the waiting list in England for social housing in 1997, when Labour came to power, there are now sixteen. 

“And Gordon Brown has run an economy that has been fuelled by a runaway credit boom he has done little to bring under control. 

“668 families in 2007 paid the price for growing economic incompetence by Gordon Brown in Bury. There are now serious concerns that in 2008, the situation will get worse.”