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Monday, June 8, 2009

Rt Hon George Howarth MP Writes to KEIOC


29th May 2009
Mr. Dave Kelly
Chair & Spokesperson
KEIOC
By email

Dear Mr Kelly

I was intrigued by your article posted on the KEIOC website (www.keioc.net) on 28 May 2009 in which you stated:

The latest bombshell regarding the MPs expense claims debacle surrounds a mysterious claim made by the MP for Knowsley North and Sefton East, George Howarth, who despite telling his constituents that he commissioned the ICM telephone poll to gauge his constituents views on the Tesco proposal for the Town, it appears he claimed the remarkable sum of £8,283.75 cost back under the guise of a communications allowance.

As such an assiduous reader of my website, you will no doubt be aware of the press release which accompanied the publication of the ICM poll back in July 2007, in which I stated “the poll was paid for by the Communications Allowance which is allocated to all MPs” For reference, this press release has remained on my site since its initial publication and can be downloaded at:

http://www.georgehowarthmp.org.uk/georgesviews/everton tesco/kirkbypoll.doc

With this in mind, I would be grateful if you could explain what exactly you mean by “the latest bombshell” and what is mysterious about producing an invoice for an item of expenditure that I openly and entirely properly stated at the time was paid for by the communications allowance?

If you are unable to provide a convincing answer to these claims perhaps you would care to retract your article and publish an apology on your website?

Aside from the general inaccuracy of your article, I am surprised that you have chosen to revisit an independent poll carried out by one of the country's leading pollsters which showed measured local support for the proposals to which you so vociferously object. He fact that this ICM opinion poll was followed by local elections in which candidates standing specifically against the development were all defeated again shows local support for the development.

Since then the developers have modified the proposals to respond to legitimate concerns articulated by local residents and the challenging economic situation that we now face further strengthens the case for significant inward investment into the area.

I support the proposed development because I believe it will bring benefits both to Kirkby and the wider Merseyside region.

Yours sincerely

Rt Hon George Howarth MP
Knowsley North and Sefton East

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