PM praises Tory councils which ‘provide good services costing less’

Conservative councils up and down the country are providing good local services that cost less, the Prime Minister said as she hit the local elections campaign trail.

On Thursday, Theresa May dropped in to a new leisure facility housed in a former cotton mill during a visit to the constituency of Pendle, Lancashire.

Last year, the Tories gained overall control of the borough council for the first time in 39 years but only after reinstating a councillor who had been suspended after she shared a racist joke on social media.

Councillor Rosemary Carroll’s return to the party handed the Tories control of the council by a single seat.

Theresa May
Theresa May

Asked about her thoughts on the matter, Mrs May said: “There was an investigation and the councillor concerned was suspended for the comments that had been made. She apologised, she underwent diversity training and then was brought back into the party.

“What we do as a party is when we have allegations or complaints about an individual we investigate those complaints properly. We did that in this case and we took the action that was appropriate to suspend the individual for a period of time.”

Looking ahead to next week’s local elections, the Prime Minister said: “I think when it comes to local elections what people look for is they say to themselves ‘who can I vote for who is going to ensure they provide good services and costing less’?.

“You look across the country – everywhere you see that is Conservative councils.”

On the subject of local and county council budget cuts, she said: “Of course, over the past few years some difficult decisions have had to be taken by government and local government.

“The reason for that is the state of the public finances left by the last Labour government. We have been sorting those out. We now have stronger public finances. We are putting more money into local councils.”

Theresa May talks to children
Theresa May talks to children

Mrs May toured the Leisure Box facility in Brierfield run by Burnley FC in the Community, which includes a children’s soft play area, a state-of-the-art climbing zone and an indoor 3G artificial pitch.

Leisure Box is part of a mixed use development to refurbish the former mill, built in l832 and bought by Pendle Council seven years ago with Government funds, which may see residential apartments and a hotel overlooking the site by the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Mrs May hailed the facility as “fantastic” which would bring a “huge benefit to the local community”.

During the tour she watched Nelson schoolgirl Samia Choudhry, 10, nervously contemplating taking on the ‘Leap of Faith’ in which she faced climbing up a frame with a harness on and then jumping off a platform.

Samia was unsure about leaping into the air before she responded to the encouragement of her instructor, Candice Hartley, with the Prime Minister looking on.

Following her successful landing Mrs May approached Samia to congratulate her.

The youngster later said: “She said I was really good and I had a lot of confidence, and that is why I had done it.”

The Prime Minister also spoke to other youths enjoying the climbing facilities and had to step back briefly when schoolgirl Noor Fatima, 10, descended rapidly from the Clip n’ Climb frame.