In letters to Islington MPs Emily Thornberry and Jeremy Corbyn, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron finally admitted that he got his facts wrong when he accused Islington of not touching the salary of its Chief Executive, at the expense of local services.
During a speech made in April, Cameron said: “What about Labour-run Islington, which is slashing frontline jobs and children’s services, but hasn’t put a finger on the chief executive’s salary of £220,000?”.
In fact Islington’s Labour Council has cut its Chief Executive’s salary by £50,000 to one of the lowest levels in London and has protected every children’s centre in the Borough – something which Council Leader Cllr Catherine West and Islington MPs Emily Thornberry MP and Jeremy Corbyn MP pointed out to the Prime Minister.
In his response Mr Cameron finally admitted he was wrong and praised Islington for offering “better value for local taxpayers by considerably reducing the salary of the Council’s new Chief Executive”. However, he offered no apology for not getting his facts straight.
Emily Thornberry said: “I’m pleased that the Prime Minister has finally acknowledged that he lied to the public when he claimed Islington Council were leaving their Chief Executive’s salary untouched at the expense of local services.
In fact his letter admits that the truth is exactly the opposite, Labour in Islington have reduced the Chief Executive’s salary to the benefit of local residents. It goes to show that just because these Tories went to Eton and think they were born to rule, it doesn’t mean they are any good at it.
I am extremely disappointed that Mr Cameron again missed the opportunity to apologise for misleading the public when he told this lie. People rightly expect a higher standard of the Prime Minister.”
In his letter, the Conservative Prime Minister tried to claim that his government’s financial settlement was “fair and protected the interests of hard working families and the most vulnerable in society”.
Labour Council Leader Catherine West, said: “Cameron’s arrogant and rushed response shows that he is divorced from the impact Conservative-Liberal Democrat cuts are having on the lives of low income families in Islington.
The truth is that our grant has been cut by 12% – the highest cut in cash terms in all of London. How is it fair for Islington, one of the most deprived parts of the country, to receive such a huge cut, whilst wealthy Richmond has only had its funding cut by 0.6%?”
Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North said: “David Cameron took over two months to reply to my letter and erroneously claims that Islington Council has only been cut 8.78%! He goes on to claim, falsely, that education and health spending have been preserved and only in the last line acknowledges that Islington Council is spending much less money on the Chief Executives salary.
I wish Cameron would ‘get it’ about the real effects of local government, education and health spending restrictions and explain why Islington has had the biggest cuts of any borough in London”