MP Paul Bristow launched a vitriolic and at times personal and offensive attack on Mayor Dr Nik Johnson – co signed by Peterborough City Council leader Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald and sent on official House of Commons headed paper. The Peterborough MP writes that “I really want to work with you as Mayor to deliver for the people of Peterborough” before claiming that “if you were not so pre-occupied by investigations into your own conduct, you may have had more success”.
Earlier in the letter, after acknowledging the Mayor had “suffered a period of ill health” and being “pleased that you were able to return to the officer earlier this year and that you had such good treatment” he hit Mayor Johnson with the following.
“However, the investigations into your own conduct has also been a distraction. If you believe in transparency, will you finally ensure that the report into your conduct is published so that the people of Cambridgeshire of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough can hold you to account?”.
My reply-Big steps for Combined Authority at Wednesday Board+important decisions for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
But big story?Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald’s surprise u-turn and the impact of last-minute backtracking on strategic transport matters.
All the best for the weekend pic.twitter.com/xaWLVzb6N3
— Mayor Dr Nik Johnson (@NikJohnsonCA) September 22, 2023
The MP and Cllr Fitzgerald tell the Mayor: “Sadly you have proved to be a Cambridge-centric Mayor and continue to refuse to invest in Peterborough’s future.”
The MP claims the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan (LTCP) that was vetoed by Cllr Fitzgerald last week, allows still for the “very real prospect of road charging” which he described as a “draconian attack on the hard-working motorists of Peterborough”.
The duo tell the Mayor: “When you had the opportunity to make a real and positive difference for Peterborough, you petulantly refused. Stagecoach, Peterborough City Council, and the Government are committed to a new bus depot in Peterborough for electric buses.
“You are refusing to provide the £200,000 required for further feasibility work which will only delay the project.
“Money (£4million) was granted by the Government to the Combined Authority for this project to be spent by 31st March 2023. You failed to spend a single penny. This risks the money having to be returned to Central Government.
“You asked Peterborough City Council to help; they set up project teams and reached the point where they needed to commission expert consultants. You have effectively blocked the city council from doing any further work.
“Your argument that this money is linked to the wider Local Transport and Connectivity Plan is ludicrous. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. This is not your money! It is taxpayers money intended for the people of Peterborough.”
The MP and council leader add: “It’s such a shame you have let your petty politics and a Cambridge-centric approach put this project at risk.”
In a preamble to the letters – published on the MP’s Facebook page and also that of Cllr Fitzgerald – Mr Bristow adds: “GIVE US OUR MONEY – My message to the Labour Cambridgeshire Mayor. He asked an official to write to myself and the Leader of the Council. We have replied.
“Road charging (renamed demand management and fiscal measures) remain in his transport plan. He must think people in Peterborough are stupid! He refuses to give us the £200k Government has given him to plan our bus depot
Congratulations @AndyBurnhamGM ! Thanks for the trailblazing. Fast on heals @CambsPboroCA -powering down our own bus lane of reform ,Independent Audit agreed this week,Bus Operators forum last week with full agreement to work for the best outcomes for all
— Mayor Dr Nik Johnson (@NikJohnsonCA) September 24, 2023
“He risks having to send £4 million ear marked for Peterborough back to Central Government for failing to spend it. Much like he had to return hundreds of millions for warm homes because he didn’t get round to spending it.
“This Mayor has been through 3 Chief Executives – 2 receiving massive pay offs – and a big report into his own conduct. I think he should publish that report so the public can make up their own mind up.
“I want to work with him – but he needs to put Peterborough first and stop it all about Cambridge, Cambridge, Cambridge
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