Why would Lib Dems change A14 position?

I was surprised to see you publish the blatantly political letter from Mike Shellens on behalf of the Huntingdon Liberal Democrats (April 3). Firstly, it has always been a convention that local papers do not give local election candidates space in the let

I was surprised to see you publish the blatantly political letter from Mike Shellens on behalf of the Huntingdon Liberal Democrats (April 3).

Firstly, it has always been a convention that local papers do not give local election candidates space in the letters page during the one month preceding the local government elections. I accept that Mr Shellens might not be a candidate himself, but the tone of his letter makes it more suitable for a Lib Dem Focus leaflet (or possibly the Sunday Sport) than a responsible local newspaper. It is blatant electioneering, pure and simple.

Secondly, my memory of the council meeting on March 27 (at which the council's response on the A14 was agreed) tells me that the Liberal Democrat group supported the response. I have to rely upon my memory, as the minutes have not yet been published, so quite what Mr Shellens is relying upon is totally beyond me.

The council as a whole (including the Conservative Group) accepted a suggestion from Cllr Peter Downes (Lib Dem group leader on HDC) to change slightly the originally-drafted response. I find it difficult to believe, therefore, that the Liberal Democrat group would then vote against it, but we shall see when the minutes are published.

Thirdly, the response initially agreed by the council cabinet before it came to full council had accepted Peter Downes's proposed changes. It was open to the appropriate scrutiny committee (chaired by a Liberal Democrat) to "call in" that cabinet decision, but it did not.

Let me assure you that I am not a candidate in the elections on May 3. I would be grateful, therefore (and notwithstanding the conventions I outlined above) if you would allow me this right of reply.

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Councillor KEITH WALTERS, Conservative Group Leader, Cambridgeshire County Council

* Editor's note: The April 3 issue of The Hunts Post was published before nominations for May 3 elections closed at noon that day. "Election purdah" is a convention under which central or local government officials do or say nothing in the lead-up to elections that might been seen as electorally beneficial to one party or another. It does not apply to newspapers. We do, however, aim to maintain as good a balance between parties as we can achieve, and we support none of them.

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