Tory MP’s attempt to challenge Lisa Nandy on levelling up goes very badly

Tory MP’s attempt to challenge Lisa Nandy on levelling up goes very badly
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A Tory MP attempted to call out at Labour’s Lisa Nandy on ‘levelling up’ during a recent session in the House of Commons, and it didn’t end well.

Jonathan Gullis, who is the MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, challenged Nandy on Labour’s record in the city on Wednesday.

However, despite pointing out his arguments and claiming he ‘can’t see Labour coming back to Stoke-On-Trent’, Nandy hit back with the findings of the new accounts committee report.

And they didn’t make for particularly good reading for Gullis.

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Challenging Nandy, Gullis said: “This conservative government that’s invested £56billion from the levelling up fund… 500 brand new home office jobs, a £17.6million Kidsgrove town deal that’s unlocked the refurbishment of a sports centre [Labour] closed in 2017 because they couldn’t be bothered to spend a single pound coin.

“Whereas Labour’s legacy is a PFI hospital with 200 fewer beds than the old one stealing £200million a year from the doctors and nurses on the front line, PFI schools stealing money from the teachers in the classroom and the white elephant council office that wasted £40million. Why are Labour ever going to come back to Stoke-On-Trent? Because I can’t see it.”

Nandy countered by mentioning her recent trip to the city and saying: “Taking into account every single penny of levelling up money that has been allocated to Stoke-On-Trent, his constituents are £27.7million worse off as a consequence of this government. That is the Tory premium. That is the premium you pay for having a Tory government.

The pair clashed in Wednesday's session in the commonsParliament TV

“If [Gullis] had any inch of conscience about the flight of those young people that I met, he would be standing up and challenging this government on their record of not delivering for Stoke-On-Trent.”

Responding to heckles from the Tory benches, Nandy continued: “They don’t need to believe me, why don’t they read the accounts committee report that was published today? It is devastating. It says billions of pounds have been squandered on ill thought out plans, forcing areas to compete over pots of money, small refunds for the money that has been stripped from us over a decade.

It comes as ministers were accused yesterday of drawing up rules that allow billions of pounds of “levelling up” cash to be handed to their favoured areas.

The report – referenced by Nandy – revealed that the “principles” for successful awards from a flagship £4.8bn fund were decided only after the government knew which of 170 bidders “would win and who would not”.

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