Storm in a teacup: Mary Creagh MP in coffee morning row with Tory councillor

A Conservative councillor has complained after she claimed to have been turned away from a Labour MP's coffee morning.

Thursday, 31st January 2019, 5:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 31st January 2019, 6:03 pm
Ms Creagh described Coun Harvey's outburst as "odd".

Tory Samantha Harvey said that leaflets advertising a public event held by Mary Creagh in Netherton village hall promised she would be attending as a ward councillor.

But Coun Harvey claimed that when she arrived she was not allowed in.

In a bizarre exchange at a full Wakefield Council meeting on Wednesday, Coun Harvey was censured for raising a ward issue at the inappropriate time, before the local authority's leader Peter Box told her he had no power over MPs.

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Coun Harvey represents the Wakefield Rural ward

Asked about the claims afterwards, Ms Creagh called the outburst "rather odd".

She acknowledged there had been an "invitation error", but added that Coun Harvey had happily attended once the issue was resolved.

Coun Harvey said: "Last Saturday, the MP organised a coffee morning at Netherton Village Hall, where my ward is located.

"She actually sent invitations out to the local residents, on which it said quite clearly "your local councillors and neighbourhood policing teams will be there".

Mayor Stuart Heptinstall tried to intervene as Coun Harvey continued.

Talking over mayor Stuart Heptinstall as he tried to stop her from continuing, she added, "However when I tried to get into the meeting I was stopped and told I wasn't allowed to get in.

As the mayor continued his interventions, she raised her voice and asked, "Why was that?"

After Coun Heptinstall told her she was not supposed to bring ward matters into the debating chamber, Coun Box replied: "From time to time, I get blamed for a lot of things. It goes with the territory.

"I'm actually not responsible for MPs - sometimes I wish I was.

MP Ms Creagh acknowledged there had been an invitation "error" but insisted it had been resolved.

"All I can suggest is that you write to the MP concerned and raise your concerns. I'm sure she'll take them up for you."

Speaking on Thursday, Ms Creagh said: "I chatted to Samantha about the invitation error on Saturday, so I found her outburst at the council meeting rather odd. She and her colleagues attended the coffee morning, chatted happily with residents and myself, and were welcomed by my staff.

"Samantha seemed perfectly happy when we met on Sunday, so I have no idea why she’s raising this at a council meeting."