Council leader refuses to talk to MP as row intensifies

Tim Adams has said he will not communicate with Duncan Baker for two months 

Tim Adams has said he will not communicate with Duncan Baker for two months - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk council leader is stopping all communication with his MP.

Tim Adams, leader of North Norfolk District Council, said he would be halting contact with Conservative MP Duncan Baker until at least June. 

Mr Adams has taken issue with comments made by a former Conservative candidate who has handled PR for Mr Baker - and says Mr Baker has not taken his complaints about that seriously.

The comments were made towards one of Mr Adams' female Liberal Democrat colleagues by Jon Payne, who works for Mammoth Marketing and Communications.

In a social media comment relating to Norfolk County Council cutting free school meals vouchers, Mr Payne said: "Another (swear words removed) party political stunt from this stupid woman and her cronies."

Mr Payne did not deny making the comment. However, he and Mr Baker stressed he does not work for the MP but for Mammoth.

Mr Adams has complained to Mr Baker about the comments.

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Mr Adams said: "Rather than seek to work together to get my colleague an apology, or at least give my colleague assurances that this behaviour is not acceptable or representative of what Conservatives stand for, Duncan’s reaction has been to threaten legal action against me personally on several occasions now.

"He has been entirely dismissive of the whole thing, and does not recognise his obvious close connection to this person."

The decision also follows Mr Baker writing to Mr Adams arguing the council had left questions unanswered after a review into a £1,000 a day contract awarded to a friend of senior Lib Dem, Karen Ward. 

Last month a review by accounting firm Ernst and Young (EY) concluded two members of the council's involvement in a £30,000 contract was “inappropriate” with a significant risk of “non-compliance of internal policies”. 

Responding to Mr Adams, the MP said: "I am not accountable for what members of the public write on social media.

"Of course, refusing to talk to me for two months is simply an extraordinary act of hiding away and not wanting to answer my letter into the very serious findings of the audit report.

"I understand that Mr Adams is feeling a great deal of pressure.

"We know the Lib Dems have a disastrous record of running the council but he is showing himself to be a very weak leader by hiding from his MP and refusing to talk to me."