Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson has called on Lib Dem peer Lord Greaves to retire from politics because of his “increasingly erratic” behaviour.
Mr Stephenson claims he has been the subject of a smear campaign by Lord Greaves, who last month said the MP had lied in Parliament over Pendle Council’s position on brownfield sites and publicly called for him to apologise.
However, Mr Stephenson now says Lord Greaves misled the public by saying he was going to write to the Speaker of the House of Commons, calling on the MP to apologise. The Speaker has said in a letter to Pendle’s MP that he has not received a complaint from Lord Greaves.
The peer, who last week was elected vice-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Local Democracy, has expressed his shock that Mr Stephenson has not apologised and again called on him to do so.
Mr Stephenson: “The Speaker’s response to me confirms there was nothing ‘out of order’ in what I said and there was no need for me to apologise.
“Furthermore, in the Speaker’s response, dated September 24th, he said he had received no complaint from Lord Greaves, which proves Lord Greaves misled the public and press of his intentions to write to the Speaker.
After many years of public service Lord Greaves increasingly erratic and strange behaviour, which has included him photographing and putting pictures of my home on Facebook, leads me to believe he should consider retiring from politicsPendle MP
“After many years of public service Lord Greaves increasingly erratic and strange behaviour, which has included him recently photographing and putting pictures of my home on Facebook, leads me now to believe he should consider retiring from politics.
“Accusing a fellow Parliamentarian of lies and demanding an apology to the House of Commons only undermines trust in all politicians and, as the Speaker has said, I did nothing wrong.
“Lord Greaves has recently expressed his concern about the size of the House of Lords.
“As he doesn’t understand parliamentary practice, or chooses to ignore it to make personal attacks, I feel he should apologise for his latest attack on me and reflect on whether now is the right time for him to retire from the House of Lords.”
Responding, Lord Greaves said: “I am sorry Mr Stephenson resorts to a personal attack on me which I will not replicate.
“My concern is simply that what he said in Parliament is demonstrably not true. He misled the House of Commons and that is a serious matter.
“On September 14th, Mr Stephenson made an attack on Pendle Council in the House of Commons during which he said ‘the new Lib Dem and Labour administration of Pendle Borough Council has abandoned plans to spend the £1.5m. allocated for brownfield regeneration’.
“That is not true. Work has taken place continuously on the council’s brownfield development policy since the annual meeting of the council in May.
“When he said what he did, he had the agenda for the Executive in the same week with an item on brownfield sites policy. But in an email to me Mr Stephenson says he thought ‘the report would be rejected’!
“The council had even asked him to meet to discuss brownfield sites among other things, but he has refused to do so. It is a strict parliamentary rule that when a member misleads Parliament – whether accidentally or deliberately – he should apologise to the House and put the record straight.
“I am sorry and a little shocked Mr Stephenson has not agreed to do this.”