MP Nadine Dorries hits back at claims she ignored Shefford crime meeting
PUBLISHED: 13:25 12 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:44 12 January 2018
Danny Loo Photography 2017
Mid Beds MP Nadine Dorries has rejected claims she ignored the Beds police commissioner's meeting in Shefford last night - and insists she was not invited.
Shefford campaigners including Lee Searle, who chaired the meeting attended by police and crime commissioner Kathryn Holloway and senior officers after a spate of anti-social behaviour, had expressed disappointment at Ms Dorries’ absence – saying they had been led to believe the MP would be there.
But Ms Dorries told the Comet today that the event organisers had never given her a formal invitation to attend the meeting.
“I’m guessing that was because the meeting was called for residents to speak to the elected police and crime commissioner Kathryn Holloway,” she said.
“As the MP for Mid Beds I’m in London from Monday to Thursday night when parliament is sitting. I’m rarely able to attend midweek meetings in the constituency unless they are called during recess. My office were asked by Lee if I would be attending, and he had already been informed it was unlikely.”
Mr Searle has firmly insisted that Ms Dorries was invited, and says her office contacted him twice to discuss the timing of the meeting.
Ms Dorries said: “I am fully supportive of Kathryn’s efforts to highlight the disparity in the police funding formula that gives Bedfordshire a bad deal. I put down parliamentary questions on this subject in December, and received the answers this week.
“I have also discussed this issue – Shefford in particular – twice with the minister on two separate occasions since parliament returned following the Christmas recess.
“I am committed to maintaining pressure on the Government to revise the funding formula for Bedfordshire Police so that our towns never again experience what happened in Shefford at the end of last year.”
Mr Searle had said Ms Dorries was seen earlier in the day on TV discussing Big Brother, but the MP has firmly denied this. She told the Comet: “I made no TV appearance on Thursday discussing anything whatsoever.”
Some 180 members of the public turned out to meet Mrs Holloway and police chiefs at Shefford Town Council last night, with hundreds more watching online.
The meeting was called after more than 1,900 people signed a petition calling for Mrs Holloway to discuss concerns about alleged assaults, stabbings and more.
Arrests and an increased police presence has since seen the problem diminished.