SamCam row: Tories turn their guns on Nash

…sounds like a national newspaper will be picking up Tom Foot’s story about the Surma Centre in Regent’s Park and its link with Samantha Cameron. The PM’s wife headed down there before the general election and made a film about how she loved the place. It’s now facing crippling cuts ordered by the council/government. What was interesting was that when Tom approached the Conservatives over this, they didn’t just reply with the stock: SamCam loves the Surma Centre and calls on the council to keep it open yada yada yada…

Tory HQ instead went on the offensive. Mrs Cameron’s spokesman counted up the money that has been paid to council leader Nasim Ali for his council work and suggested that might have been used to keep the lunch club and health groups running.

That Conservative statement in full:

It is extraordinary that Camden can’t find the money to keep this centre open. This is a decision taken by a Labour-run council that has spent more than £3million on publicity in 12 months, lavishes its chief executive with a £230,000 pay packet and is led by Councillor Nasim Ali, who has been able to claim the best part of £100,000 in perks over just four years.

Councillor Ali’s allowances since 2007 alone would keep the centre open for eight months. The closure appears to be nothing more than a cynical move by another Labour council determined to play politics with people’s lives. They should rethink their decision.

It will be interesting to see what take other newspapers adopt.

1 Comment on SamCam row: Tories turn their guns on Nash

  1. This is, sadly, a pretty pathetic response from CCHQ. Unfortunately in between elections, the quality of staff in party HQs often drops away and that seems to be the case here.

    In case CCHQ hadn’t noticed, the current Camden budget they are criticising was passed by a LibDem-Conservative administration in March 2010.

    The line that Nash Ali’s allowances since 2007 would fund the Surma Centre for eight months is a quite absurd debating point. Are they suggesting that Cllr Ali, alone of all the thousands of councillors in England, should draw no allowance at all? Perhaps they might like to suggest that if all the Conservative members of Oxford County Council didn’t draw any allowances, they could keep open some of the 20 libraries they are closing. Of course there is a debate are officer salaries and councillor allowances but it is simply not central to the level of cuts that is – sadly – inevitable in Camden and elsewhere. There are – possibly only at the margins – alternatives and improvements to the Labour budget. But it will be very damaging to the Conservative party if CCHQ does not find a more credible and mature approach on this.

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