No inquiry into free tickets election pledge for Blackpool residents

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Calls for an official investigation into Labour’s failure so far to fulfill its election pledge of free attraction tickets for residents have fallen on deaf ears.

Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservative group on Blackpool Council, had written to authorities including the police and crime commissioner and the Electoral Commission demanding they look into the promise.

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Free admissions election promise for Blackpool residents waylaid by Covid

He has questioned how the scheme could be funded ever since the pledge was first made ahead of the May 2019 local elections.

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Town hall leaders pledged free tickets for residentsTown hall leaders pledged free tickets for residents
Town hall leaders pledged free tickets for residents

The current Labour leadership has repeatedly stated the pledge still stands, but its launch has been delayed due to the Covid epidemic.

But Coun Tony Williams said: “I have received dozens of calls and emails from Blackpool residents and even been stopped in the street in regard to the free attraction tickets the Labour group promised in the last local elections.

“I have told them the council has stated that Covid lockdown has delayed the offer being made. However like myself most people are sceptical this is the real reason.”

He added: “Without any real information or details since the offer was made, it was decided a formal complaint should be made to establish the truth as to whether or not any legal election rules have been breached.”

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But the office of the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner advised Coun Williams to direct his concerns to the Electoral Commission.

And a spokesperson for the Electoral Commission said investigating the issue did not fall under their remit as they did not “have a regulatory role in relation to the content of campaign material.”

They added: “The Commission‘s role is to regulate political finance and ensure that voters have transparency over the money spent and received by campaigners and parties.”

Blackpool Council leader Coun Lynn Williams said it was hoped to reveal further details of the scheme later this year.

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She said: “We were all set to go in April last year, but how could we deliver that during a worldwide pandemic?

“All the attractions were closed, and even now they are open they are not all at full capacity.

“And I don’t think residents would have wanted to take up the opportunity when people were fighting for their lives.

“We are still having conversations with the attractions, but they need to get up to full capacity and we are hoping to make an announcement later this year.”

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