Taking credit for progress

The A1 in Northumberland
The A1 in Northumberland

No announcement has been made, but with seven months until the General Election, Northumberland’s politicians are already vying for credit over dualling the A1.

Last week, we reported that Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) Anne-Marie Trevelyan had discussed the upgrading of the road in the county with Chancellor George Osborne and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

“I am very optimistic that the Chancellor will shortly make this formal announcement, but I will continue to make representations to colleagues at the Treasury and within the Department of Transport,” she said.

And following that, Mr McLoughlin was quoted as saying: “Anne-Marie has been constantly lobbying me and my predecessors on the A1. The fact that the feasibility study was commissioned was a direct result of all her years of work and commitment to her campaign.”

Then, last Sunday, at the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said that Liberal Democrats are continuing to push for investment in infrastructure upgrades, citing action to improve the A1 as part of the recovery plan for the country.

Lib Dem PPC Julie Pörksen said: “With the Liberal Democrats in Government, we have made more progress on the A1 than ever before.

“When Labour were in Government, the A1 was taken off the list of projects to be done.

“When the Conservatives were in Government, they promised ahead of the 1992 General Election that ‘work will begin in May’, but did nothing over the subsequent five years they were in power.

“With the Liberal Democrats as part of a Coalition Government, we have been able to secure real commitments to getting work done.”

Sir Alan Beith MP added that Mr Alexander knows how much investment in the A1 would help Northumberland and without him, ‘we would not be making the progress which is now apparent’.