May 26 Update: Local Poll on the options for change in Local Government in Somerset
The Leaders of the four district councils in Somerset have today replied to the questions asked of them by the Local Government Secretary in his letter which was sent on Monday 24 May, which you may have viewed or seen reported.
In their reply they set out the actions the councils have taken to mitigate an error in voter material sent in support of the local poll on options for change in local government in Somerset.
They reaffirm their commitment to continue with the poll, “so that all voters in Somerset have a fair and equal chance to be heard”.
They also contrast the error to the “deliberate and continual campaign of misinformation and misrepresentation of our proposal conducted by Somerset County Council”.
They set out examples of this misinformation about the Stronger Somerset proposal, including the One Somerset leaflet sent to every household just last week, which repeated the line that Stronger Somerset proposes to replace five councils with five organisations – a claim that is utterly false.
The Leaders have also today written to Cllr David Fothergill, Leader of Somerset County Council. In this, they apologise for the mistake. With regards to the spoof website they say: “We condemned the contents unreservedly and have made clear our opposition to its existence.”
They go on to say: “It is immensely disappointing to see that you continue to question the impartiality of the poll. These assertions are without foundation.”
Looking to the future they conclude: “We remain committed to working together as districts and with other parties, in the best interests of Somerset.”
The local poll closes on Friday 4 June at 5pm.
You can find information on the options for change in local government in Somerset under consideration at www.onesomerset.org.uk and www.strongersomerset.co.uk
The letters submitted to the Local Government Secretary and to Cllr David Fothergill are below.
Letter to Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP