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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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'War dead snub' claim rebuffed by Carlisle Labour councillor

A senior city councillor has reacted angrily to a suggestion that she ‘snubbed war dead’ during a crucial budget debate.

Elsie Martlew photo
Elsie Martlew

Councillor Elsie Martlew, Carlisle City Council’s portfolio holder for environment and transport, said the comment posted on the social networking site Twitter was “inaccurate, insensitive and wrong”.

It was in response to a proposed budget amendment, put forward by the Lib Dems, which would have allocated £50,000 to restore the city’s Cenotaph to its former glory ahead of next year’s 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

At the meeting Mrs Martlew asked for the amendment to be withdrawn and she gave a “cast iron guarantee” that the work to the monument would be carried out “whatever the cost”.

However the day after the meeting the Conservative councillor, Neville Lishman, said on Twitter: “Carlisle Labour squashed debate, snubbed our War dead, pulled the CCTV plug, refused grant to homeless charities. True colours.”

Neville Lishman's tweet. Article continues below...

Mrs Martlew is now calling for opposition leaders and parties to distance themselves from the comment and added: “I gave a cast iron guarantee that the money would be available.

“The work will be done to bring it back to its former glory in time for the commemorative events in 2014.” She added that she took exception to the suggestion that she had snubbed the war dead because she, like millions of others across the country, had lost family members in conflict.

“To say that we have snubbed our war dead is a disgrace,” she said.

“I am calling on John Mallinson and the party to distance themselves from these remarks. It is inaccurate, insensitive and wrong – you can’t get more than a cast iron guarantee can you?”

Mrs Martlew said that council officers were investigating exactly what work would be needed at the Cenotaph, as well how much it would cost to carry out, to ensure it was in a ‘fit and proper state’ to honour the city’s war dead.

Mr Lishman told the News & Star that he stands by his comment and said he was referring to the rejection of the proposed Lib Dem budget amendment requesting £50,000 for the war memorial.

He added: “Where was the money in the budget? They voted against the amendment and they made a policy on the hoof.”

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