Deputy Prime Minister’s Bradley Stoke visit axed

Nick Clegg [photo by Odder; licence: Cc-by-2.0]

A visit by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to Bradley Stoke planned for today has had to be cancelled “for operational reasons”, according to a Liberal Democrat spokesperson.

The visit first came to light on BBC Radio Bristol news bulletins this morning (Friday 8th), where it was announced that:

“The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is to make a flying visit to the West Country today. The Liberal Democrat leader will be in Bradley Stoke to answer questions from the public in what his party calls a Town Hall-style meeting.”

However, on contacting a local Lib Dem source, The Journal was told that the visit had been cancelled on security grounds because the BBC “shouldn’t have announced it”.

Further investigation by The Journal revealed that the meeting was to have taken place at Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS).

BSCS headteacher Dave Baker later confirmed that Mr Clegg  had been expected but that the meeting had been postponed because of “concerns about the local elections and purdah – nothing to do with security”.

Liz Peplow, a regional Lib Dem spokesperson, later told The Journal that the visit had been postponed “for operational reasons” and that the BBC had been informed of this on Thursday night.

Dave Baker said the school has been told that Mr Clegg would like to re-schedule the visit after the local elections that take place on 5th May.

Related link: 2011 District and Town Elections (The Journal)

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  1. Eh? Doesn’t “a Town Hall-style meeting” require some publicity. Who are they expecting to attend if it’s not publicised?
    Presumably some handpicked individuals that would smile sympathetically, applaud and not ask anything difficult.

    Perhaps his crack security team was concerned we would gang up on him and try to feed him into the cloths recycling bins. That’s how we deal with undesirables in Bradley don’t you know 🙂

    Having said that. Perhaps he noticed how absolutly stunny the weather is and decided to take the day off. I know that’s what I wanted to do. More like this please Mr & Mrs Met Office.

  2. What a bizarre story. I’ve never in my life heard of a politician planning to visit somewhere to do a public Q&A session, only for it to be cancelled because someone told….the public!

  3. LOL!!! How can you have a town hall meeting with only hand picked people in the audience, they obviously didn’t want a repeat of last time he came to Bristol and got severely heckled.

  4. Or maybe he suddenly remembered as his boss is out of the country on holiday he is supposed to be running the show in the meantime.

    Name and shame the local Lib Dem source who came up with the weak excuse that it was cancelled for security reasons (unless they were worried the local sixth formers were going to string him up from the nearest lamp post) just so we know when that person is fibbing the next time they speak to the media.

  5. We asked South Gloucestershire Council for a statement but they could only say: “We have nothing further to add to that which was reported in the Evening Post story”.

  6. It’s quite simple.

    During the ‘purdah’ period in the run up to elections, it is against the law for councils to allow their premises, in this case a school, to be used as platforms for any political party.

    The Lib Dems know this. It is their own incompetence in overlooking this well-known electoral rule that has caused this problem in the first place.

  7. The rules for local authorities in this pre-election “purdah” period state clearly that
    1) A council cannot campaign for partiucular candidates using public money or resources.
    2) A council can allow publicly-owned buildings to be used for political meetings, but only if those meetings are truly open to members of the public. Filtering of the audience would break this rule.

    I’m not sure if the proposed meeting would have complied with these requirements. Since it is quite obvious these rules would have to apply in order to ensure public money was not being used politically, the organisers knew, or should have known of them. A few seconds’ Googling did the trick for me when I checked.

  8. Well, Mr Clegg finally made it to Bristol on Wednesday (20th April) when he had what sounds like a thrilling debate about pensions with … call centre staff at Friends Life in Stoke Gifford.

    Read more: Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Pensions Minister Steve Webb visit Friends Life Centre

    Local Lib Dem Councillor Jon Williams held out some hope for disappointed locals when he told The Journal: “Mr Clegg will be coming to Bradley Stoke some time after the election, so as not to upset the local Conservative Councils”.

  9. So they needed to come here, presumably at tax payers expense on a “fact-finding tour about pensions and long term savings”.

    This confirms the average LD lives in a parallel universe and given Webb has been doing this job for years should already be one step ahead. So to help him and Calamity Clegg here’s the anon-e-mouse 10 second guide to pensions and savings:

    Pensions- screwed by Gordon Prudence Brown to the tune of £5bn a year following his immoral raid. State pension a national disgrace.
    Savings- screwed by pathetic interest levels and falling disposable income.

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