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Issue 310 – MP says driving test centre criticism is unfair

Frome and Somerton MP, David Heath, has hit back strongly at calls for his resignation by a campaign calling for the reopening of Trowbridge Driving Test Centre.

The Campaign to Reopen Trowbridge Driving Test Centre has called for the resignation of David Heath (Somerton & Frome), and another local Lib Dem MP, Duncan Hames (Chippenham) who the campaign say have abandoned their cause since winning their seats in the General Election.
The campaign says that the MPs were “very vociferous” supporters of the campaign to save and then later to re-open Trowbridge Driving Test Centre, which was closed in 2008 but have not done enough since being elected. The group has written to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to demand their resignation.
David Heath has hit back, emphasising that he and Duncan Hames have been taking up the issue with the Department of Trade.
David Heath said, “I did more than anyone else to fight against the closure of Trowbridge test centre in the last parliament, securing a debate on the subject and pressing the then government hard. Since the election, I have been taking the matter up with ministers in the Department of Trade, and they are very well aware of my concerns, I know that Duncan Hames has been doing the same. However, as a Minister myself I am no longer at liberty to speak on subjects such as this in the House – I am simply not allowed by House of Commons rules to do so.
“The Government has been in place for just over a hundred days. Might it be that in the context of wrestling with the biggest deficit faced by any Government, the re-opening of a driving test centre in Trowbridge closed by the previous government might not be the very first priority?”
David Heath thinks the campaign has a party political angle.
“It’s instructive that apparently the only ones at fault in this are the only Lib Dem minister in the department and the two Lib Dem members in neighbouring constituencies, not the Conservative Secretary of State, the Conservative minister who actually sent a negative response, or the Conservative MP who actually represents Trowbridge. Funny, that!
“Actually, I think we may make progress on locations of driving tests – talks are going on – but nothing is likely to be announced in the very near future, so the driving instructors will just have to be a little more patient, and perhaps work out who their friends are! Or alternatively, they may prefer to make fatuous party political points.”

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