Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson brings up councillor's previous conviction after he defends travellers

A heated debate on a new traveller pitch in Peterborough saw the city's MP bring up a councillor's past conviction after they disagreed over the planning application.

Wednesday, 28th September 2016, 4:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:45 pm
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Stewart Jackson said Peterborough city councillor Peter Hiller “thinks we characterise people as criminals and give them a hard time. He would know.”

Cllr Hiller, a member of the council’s cabinet and like Mr Jackson a member of the Conservative Party, was found guilty in 2013 of ‘keying’ a car.

The member for Glinton and Castor had earlier voiced his unease with remarks made about travellers during a council planning committee meeting.

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Mr Jackson had been one of the objectors who spoke at the meeting on Tuesday (September 27) over the proposal for a traveller pitch in Crowland Road, Eye.

He said: “The reason you do not have witnesses here is because of fear of retribution arising from the previous criminal activity that took place.”

Another objector, Councillor Steve Allen, referred to a “large, underground bunker for the establishment of a sophisticated cannabis farm” which had been discovered at the site.

Barry Nichols, agent for the application, said single traveller pitches had worked elsewhere in the city. He added: “This will resolve the historic issue of the current owner.”

The application was approved by councillors on a split decision, with Cllr Hiller voting in favour of it.

Cllr Hiller told the Peterborough Telegraph: “When things don’t go the way he demands, it seems Mr Jackson reverts to his default mode of verbally lashing out, in frustration.

“I have no interest in his personality issues. The planning committee made the right decision.”

Mr Jackson said the committee’s decision was the worst he had seen in his 11 years as an MP.