Southport’s Conservative MP has been heavily criticised for “pie in the sky” politics after claiming Southport is to receive £25m in investment from the government.
Damien Moore made the claim at the weekend but opponents are already pointing out that there is little to back it up and say that the Conservative MP has a track record of making “wild” claims that later prove to have little substance.
They cite how previously he repeatedly boasted of securing a government fund running into hundreds of millions of pounds to save high streets and yet Southport has not received a penny from it.
The Tory politician made several claims over a period of months that he’d had a role in establishing the Future High Streets Fund and also that Southport would benefit from part of it. Press releases from the MP were initially resplendent with claims such as:
“Damien Moore MP attended the Southport Bid conference on Friday 8 February to discuss with prominent business leaders how to attribute part of the £675 million fund he secured from the Chancellor in November to Southport”
Quotes from him on the subject were a regular theme of his self-promotion. Perhaps in a portent of the bad news to come, some began to downplay his role in securing all of the cash but still claimed Southport would benefit:
“High streets like Lord Street are instrumental in bringing people together… Only recently I secured part of the 675 million pound future high streets fund from the chancellor so that Lord Street can be restored to its former glory.”
Respected local Tory politicians who backed his claims have also been left red-faced, such as Ainsdale Councillor Tony Brough. He went on record to proclaim:
“I am delighted that our Member of Parliament is such an avid supporter of bringing locals back to the high street. Damien Moore MP has demonstrated this by securing part of the 675 million pound future high street fund for Southport.”
Labour opponents at the time refuted claims that the MP had secured the money, stating that it was little more than a Walter Mitty style boast by him.
Now, they say this latest investment announcement from the Conservative MP appears to be an attempt to divert attention from his previous claims – which have been exposed by recent news that while around 100 towns are due to benefit from that fund, Southport has been ignored by the government.
Liz Savage, Labour’s Southport Parliamentary Candidate, believes that is devastating news for the town and says this new claim is just the latest in a series of fantasy stories from the Tory politician:
“We have heard all sorts of tall tales from him since he was elected, from falsely claiming credit for a number of local initiatives to even trying to kid local residents that the soon-to-be upgraded Merseytravel trains are down to the Tories. This one though was especially cruel.”
“His wild boast of securing the £675m looked foolish at the time but there was hope his claims that Southport would get part of this money to help save Lord Street would prove to have some merit at least. Instead, they have been shown to be particularly hollow and reckless.”
“The news that the town is not even one of the additional 50 to receive the Future High Street Fund after the initial allocation adds insult to injury and is a bitter blow. We can only wonder if this was why he recently deleted all his tweets and Facebook posts from before a few weeks ago?”
“Now, he is announcing that apparently Southport is to get £25m in investment via a different fund but in reality, the only thing that has been decided at this point is that this time the government will allow Sefton to make a bid for some of the money.”
“There is no indication of any actual amount for Southport from the government because no amount has been set. In fact, there is no guarantee at all.”
“Indeed, the MP seems blatantly aware of this as elsewhere he downgrades his own claim of £25m to one of “up to £25m” – knowing this covers anything from £1 up.”
“We welcome any investment here, as after years of Tory and Lib Dem cuts the town desperately needs it, but his claim Southport is getting £25m looks like another of his reckless, empty boasts and yet more pie in the sky politics from Southport’s Tory MP.”
“Much like when he claimed to have saved the RBS branch in Birkdale, only for them to close it shortly after, so far all we have had is empty words and promises from an empty MP.”
“No doubt, as usual, he will try and blame the local council or some other body for his own failings and those of his party but the fact of the matter is that he made the boasts and failed to deliver on them and in his duty as the local MP – so now it seems his ploy is to make some more to cover up.”
“Labour meanwhile is aiming to bring 1,000 jobs to the town through Sefton Council’s deal with Southport Pleasureland. I’m working with Sefton Labour Group and Steve Rotheram City Region Mayor to ensure that Southport gets access to the city region’s £500 million Strategic Investment Fund.”
“We’ve already held meetings with some of the town’s leading business people and Steve Rotheram made it clear that if they work with the local authority to present a strong plan then Southport can get access to that funding, as Labour wants to see its fortunes revived.”
“Even when not in government, Labour is doing more for Southport than the Conservatives do while actually in power.”