Tory MP ‘extremely dissatisfied bunny’ over council merger plans in south-west

Council officials who claimed they have “worked our bollocks off” are resisting attempts to limit exit payments to £95,000, MPs have heard.

Conservative former minister Sir Christopher Chope said the response from officials in Dorset when told about the plans by the Government was: “Bollocks.”

The veteran MP also declared himself an “extremely dissatisfied bunny” ahead of Easter over plans to merge his local council into a new authority.

Sir Christopher (pictured) said 84% of people voting in a local referendum were against the abolition of Christchurch Borough Council and the enforced merger with Poole and Bournemouth.

He argued that Communities Secretary Sajid Javid’s claims that the Government supported local government and all changes should be from the ground up “will ring very hollow in Christchurch where he has announced his decision to abolish an independent sovereign council which has been in existence effectively since 1216 and against the will of the council”.

Speaking during an Opposition Day Commons debate on local government funding, the MP for Christchurch said: “One of the perverse consequences of the Government’s policy drive towards unitarisation is to destroy small local councils which have been prudent and are debt free as is Christchurch.”

Sir Christopher added: “It is totally unacceptable and I find it a cause for shame frankly that I am a Conservative MP who campaigned against this and I find that I’ve been let down very badly by my own Government.”

He criticised the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s handling of the changes before adding: “My right honourable friend has also told me that he’s going to try to limit exit payments to local government officers to £95,000, in accordance with the Government’s pledge.

“He did, at my behest, go off and say that he would ask council officials in Dorset about that.

“The response from them was ‘bollocks’ – ‘We’ve worked our bollocks off, no way are we going to allow our exit payments to be limited to £95,000’.”

Sir Christopher went on: “I am an extremely dissatisfied bunny as I go towards Easter because I believe in localism.”

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