My successor Maria Caulfield does her reputation no good by her crude and baseless assertion that the Lewes constituency had been “neglected” by myself and the Lib Dems over two decades.
The rough and tumble of politics is one thing, but to see her resort to “alternative facts” in the style of Donald Trump is sad and inappropriate behaviour for a Member of Parliament.
As I have made clear before, my time in politics ended in May 2015 and I have kept largely silent since then, but I am not going to stand by and see my record, of which I am proud, and that of my party traduced in this cavalier way.
For what it is worth, I am regularly stopped on the street by local residents complaining about what they regard as Maria’s faults: a depressing willingness to toe the Tory party central line, a poor response to constituents’ queries, and an increasing tendency to claim credit for matters, like the light at the end of the tunnel in the long-running rail dispute, where her involvement, such as it is, has been irrelevant.
As for Newhaven, to which she refers, she might recall that my Tory predecessor, Tim Rathbone, was caught acting as a paid consultant for Eurotunnel when my Lib Dem colleagues and I on the council were busy trying to save the ferry; that the development of Denton Island was a Lib Dem initiative; and that the new University Technical College occurred on my watch with my active support for Kenneth Baker’s idea, thus representing an example of how parties can work together for the benefit of the local area, rather than taking the ideological approach she appears to find more conducive. But I concede the Tories did make one gift to the people of Newhaven without Lib Dem help: an incinerator.
I now have a life outside politics and have no wish to return, but if Maria is going to seek to re-write history in terms of my time as MP, she must expect a robust reply from me.
Rt Hon Norman Baker