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MP schools letter 'a disgrace' Angry council chief hits out.

Byline: By BARRY GIBSON Local Government Reporter

A TOP councillor has demanded a high-level investigation into a "disgraceful" letter from an MP.

Kirklees Council's schools boss Clr Jim Dodds is angry over the letter from Dewsbury MP Shahid Malik about the controversial education plan in north Kirklees.

In September Clr Dodds announced a pounds 200m reorganisation which would see 11 schools close, including Castle Hall in Mirfield.

Labour MP Mr Malik has strongly criticised the Conservative councillor's plan in a letter to his constituents.

Clr Dodds said: "The letter is an absolute disgrace, it is wildly inaccurate.

"Mr Malik claims the council has been given pounds 500m by the Labour Government for the schools programme.

I can assure him the Government have not yet given us a penny.

"The North Kirklees figure is pounds 200m so his figures are misleading to say the least. In any case there is no guarantee the funding will be forthcoming.

"Mr Malik also claims there are no sixth form proposals in the initial plans. That is absolute rubbish - there were indeed sixth form proposals in North Kirklees."

Clr Dodds, the council's Cabinet member for schools, is also angry that the letter was sent on official Parl iamentary notepaper.

He said: "Mr Malik had the gall to send the letter using the portcullis Parliamentary symbol. I will be checking the appropriateness of this with the Sergeant-at-Arms in Parliament."

But Mr Malik denied there was anything wrong with his letter.

He said: "In attacking me, Kirklees have created a timely smokescreen in a cynical attempt to distract parents from the fact this council has outlined plans which would bulldoze the most successful comprehensive school in North Kirklees, Castle Hall, deprive Dewsbury youngsters of a sixth-form and waste millions on creating superfluous provision that cannot be filled."

Mr Malik added that his figure of pounds 500m was accurate.

He said: "It was not something I plucked from the air - Clr Dodds himself has quoted that figure.

"It's truly tragic that Conservative councillors are engaging in gutter politics. My letter has exposed the most shambolic school re-organisation this country has seen in recent years."

Mr Malik added he had done nothing wrong by using Parliamentary notepaper.

He said: "I challenge Clr Dodds to put in his complaint against me to the Parliamentary authorities."

CAPTION(S):

CLAIMS: Shahid Malik
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Dec 15, 2008
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