A11 dualling sparks political war of words

Sarah HallA war of words has broken out between political parties over the dualling of the A11, with the Conservatives accusing the Liberal Democrats of 'contradictory comments' over the scheme.Sarah Hall

A war of words has broken out between political parties over the dualling of the A11, with the Conservatives accusing the Liberal Democrats of 'contradictory comments' over the scheme.

On a visit to Norwich last week, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said his party was 'absolutely committed' to getting the final single carriage section of the road from Thetford to Barton Mills dualled.

But, with the Lib Dems planning to cut the �6bn roads budget to pump more cash into railways, the Conservatives accused Mr Clegg of 'a shallow promise'.

Theresa Villiers, shadow transport secretary, has written to the Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Norman Baker asking him to clarify his party's position.


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Miss Villiers said: 'At an event last week, Norman Baker said categorically that Lib Dem candidates campaigning for road projects will not get them.

'The following day this was directly contradicted by Nick Clegg who promised �123m for the A11 while on a campaign visit in Norfolk.

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'The Lib Dems need to be honest about their plans. Voters will not thank them for making promises on road schemes when their leader is out campaigning, when the Lib Dem manifesto is committed to cuts to the roads budget that would make those improvements impossible to deliver.'

A spokeswoman for the Lib Dems said the party made no secret of its plans to improve public transport and reduce rail fares by cutting some of the �6bn major roads budget.

But she said the cash left over could be used to build roads which meet strict environmental and economic criteria and added: 'Obviously some roads schemes will be prioritised for funding from the regional funding allocation and the remaining major roads budget and, as Nick Clegg made clear, the A11 is one of them, but we cannot go on building new road after road.'

Earlier this week, transport secretary Lord Adonis promised the people of East Anglia that the final stretch of the A11 will be completed if Labour returns to power and said work could start this year.

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