Norman Lamb, the full-time Paul O’Grady impersonator and some time MP for North Norfolk, is visiting Wallington today to recruit Tom Brake’s support and so ensure that he will have the backing of at least one-quarter of the Liberal Democrat’s Parliamentary group in his party’s forthcoming leadership contest.
While sniffing the soon-to-be-more-polluted south London air, Lamb might want to ask Brake about the very generous £275,000 donation that a local church – which coincidentally also happens to be a regular LibDem campaign base – has received from Viridor, who just happen to be the contractors preferred by Sutton LibDems to operate an industrial scale waste incinerator at nearby Beddington.
And Lamb might want to remind Brake, and all the local councils, including Croydon, who are involved with the South London Waste Partnership which has a £1 billion contract with Viridor, about what happened with a similar incinerator scheme in Norfolk.
As recently as October 2013, Lamb was among a number of Norfolk MPs who supported the local authority when it opted to scrap plans to build a waste incinerator.
“I strongly support today’s decision,” Lamb told his local paper at the time. “Liberal Democrats in Norfolk have consistently opposed the Conservative plan to build a waste incinerator near King’s Lynn. The decision to build a waste incinerator was taken without securing community support, and without exploring other better technologies.
“The Conservatives left Norfolk taxpayers tied into a poor-value contract for the incinerator, with the risk of significant costs to the council if that contract is cancelled. I am glad that the council is urgently reviewing the contract that was signed to understand properly its financial implications. LibDem councillors pressed for this to happen.”
Lamb’s next comments on Norfolk are particularly interesting:
“I have previously asked officials in DEFRA to help the Council explore ways of funding alternative technologies if plans to build the incinerator are scrapped, and I will continue to support Norfolk County Council in any way I can in developing sustainable waste solutions for the future.”
Lamb’s summary of the King’s Lynn incinerator situation resembles the position in Sutton remarkably well.
In Sutton, a then councillor and chair of the local LibDems, John Drage, sat on the committee of the South London Waste Partnership for years without ever once mentioning that he was also lifelong mates with the CEO of Viridor.
Do you think Norman Lamb will ask Tom Brake about that, too, when they meet today?
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