Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant has been labelled “disgraceful” by a potential Labour MP after questioning her motives for standing for Parliament and councillor at the same time.
Councillor Susan Woodward, who stood against Mr Fabricant in the Lichfield constituency in 1997, has told local Conservatives that she intends to stand for the role of Cannock Chase MP and be re-elected as councillor for Hednesford and Rawnsley on June 4.
And in a week when the expenses of politicians have hit the headlines, Mr Fabricant has questioned Ms Woodward’s intentions.
Mr Fabricant said:
“After a break of 12 years, Susan Woodward is keen to try and get into Parliament again and this is a laudable aspiration. However, this time she cannot choose between her Council role and a future Parliamentary career. Despite being selected by the Labour party to replace Tony Wright MP at the next General Election, I am astonished to see that she has also just been nominated to stand again as Councillor on June 4 – which carries with it a four-year year term of office.
“It would appear that Susan Woodward thinks being an MP is a part-time job. I have always found that being an MP is a very full time job. She either thinks she can take advantage of representing the same people twice, claiming double expenses and allowances for being both their Councillor and an MP, or she is hedging her bets as she no longer believes she can defend Tony Wright’s 9,227 majority – which says a lot about her assessment of her chances in the light of this government’s unpopularity. She really must make her mind up.
But Ms Woodward has hit back at Mr Fabricant’s criticism, labelling it as “disgraceful” and claimed that he should concentrate on his own constituents rather than interfere in other regions.
She told The Lichfield Blog:
“The comments of Mr Fabricant are disgraceful. My motive is public service and always has been. It is ironic that I am being criticised, yet the Tory candidate for Cannock Chase, Aidan Burley, is a councillor in Hammersmith and Fulham – at least I’ve been serving the people Hednesford and Rawley. Neither Michael Fabricant nor myself know when there will be a General Election and I won’t pre-empt the electorate. We will wait and see what they decide.
“Michael Fabricant should concentrate on his own constituents.”
But Mr Fabricant has accused Ms Woodward of dodging the issue.
“Susan Woodward’s bluster is all very well, but she hasn’t addressed the question. As for the opposing candidate, the difference is that he is standing down as a councillor when his term expires.”