Never to be forgotten moments from Cambridgeshire politicians 

Cllr Jason Mockett, former councillor Ian Manning and MP Lucy Frazer

Cllr Jason Mockett, former councillor Ian Manning and MP Lucy Frazer - Credit: Archant

Politicians come and go and the vagaries of the ballot box allow some to depart earlier than they might have wished for or indeed planned.  

Cambridgeshire is not without its characters, or without its controversies. 

And some get either caught on camera for relatively minor issues (smoking at a council meeting) to those, such as the former MP for Peterborough get caught for more serious issues.  

Here’s our selection: there are others but they can wait for a future occasion. 


1: JAMES PALMER 

James Palmer (right) with South Cambs MP Anthony Browne

James Palmer (right) with South Cambs MP Anthony Browne - Credit: Archant


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After losing the mayoralty of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, he announced: “This will be my last post in Twitter and will joyfully delete my account after today.     

“I have met some incredible people in politics and some truly awful ones too!” 


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2: ALAN SHARP  

This was the moment viewers at home (there were a few) saw and heard Cllr Alan Sharp describe a fell

This was the moment viewers at home (there were a few) saw and heard Cllr Alan Sharp describe a fellow councillor as 'thick'. Some members of the committee at East Cambs Council claimed not to have heard it - and no one owned up to the remark at the time. Picture: ZOOM/YOUTUBE - Credit: Archant

A councillor – and vice chair of the SE Cambridgeshire Conservative Association – apologised for labelling a Lib Dem councillor ‘thick’ during a live stream of East Cambs Council. 

Cllr Alan Sharp was audibly and visibly heard to mutter the word whilst Lib Dem Charlotte Cane was pressing ahead with a massive round of questions during a finance committee. 

Cllr Cane was aghast when she heard the comment – and demanded to know who had said it. 

Although it was obvious to those watching (Cllr Sharp’s Zoom screen lit up) he declined to own up during the meeting. 

But later when it saw it for himself, he apologised. 


3: IAN MANNING  

A simple breakfast of bacon and eggs. What could possibly go wrong with that? Quite a lot as it turn

A simple breakfast of bacon and eggs. What could possibly go wrong with that? Quite a lot as it turned out when Cllr Ian Manning tweeted the photo at the commencement of his solidarity day of fasting for Ramadan.(Muslims don't eat pork) - Credit: Archant

He tweeted: “Up early to start my fast for #Libdemlftar. Not really sure I’ll get through the evening but we’ll see!” 

He quickly apologised and deleted the tweet after beginning his one-day “solidarity” Ramadan fast by posting a picture of his breakfast plate of bacon. 

The former Lib Dem councillor said he was “not thinking clearly” when he did it. He had also tagged the official Twitter account of the Muslim Council of Britain. 


4: JASON MOCKETT  

Jason Mockett, now a Tory councillor.

Jason Mockett, now a Tory councillor. - Credit: Archant

Two years before becoming a Conservative councillor for Whittlesey, Mr Mockett posted a widely shared view of MP Steve Barclay on Facebook.  

He described him as “our useless MP.”  

His local Tory association forgave him – we're not sure the same can be said of Mr Barclay.  

 
5: ROGER HICKFORD
 

Cllr Roger Hickford, disgraced deputy leader of Cambridgeshire County Council

Cllr Roger Hickford, former deputy leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, and a tenant farmer of the council. - Credit: Archant

“My business plans suffered severe delays due to inexperience and incompetent project management by those within the county farms team who were engaged with the project,” he said. 

The disgraced politician –whose actions coined the phrase #farmgate – was his own champion for the county farms at the time. 


6: LUCY FRAZER  

Lucy Frazer

Lucy Frazer MP making her maiden speech in the House in 2015 - Credit: Archant

Who can forget the MP for South East Cambridgeshire, Lucy Frazer, using her maiden speech in the House of Commons in 2015 to recall Cambridgeshire as being the home of Oliver Cromwell? 

The MP reminded colleagues Cromwell had defeated the Scots at Dunbar, incorporated Scotland into his Protectorate and provided for the transportation of Scots as slaves to the colonies. 

“Now there is an answer to the West Lothian question – but not one that of course I would recommend,” she chortled amid laughter from the Tory side of the house.  

She later apologised. 

“I am extremely sorry for any offence I have caused,” she told the Scottish Sunday Herald. “That was not my intention. I have the highest regard for Scotland and the Scottish people.” 


7: BARBARA ASHWOOD 

Cllr Barbara Ashwood has apologised after being caught smoking during a virtual meeting

Cllr Barbara Ashwood apologised after being caught smoking during a virtual meeting of the communities and partnership committee at Cambridgeshire County Council. : - Credit: Archant

It wasn’t anything she said that caused offence, it was what she did.  

But she still felt the urgent need to apologise for smoking on camera during a virtual council meeting. 

The then Lib Dem county councillor was spotted smoking away during a communities and partnership committee streamed live via YouTube. 

Her lighting up drew outrage, not least from Conservative leader Steve Count who said: “I can’t believe what I’m seeing. We have responsibility for public health!” 

He tagged the South Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrat group and said “inappropriate councillor behaviour when on council business”. 

He added: “We run massive campaigns to help people pack up smoking. Cllr Ashwood is on official duty. That is an issue for me.” 

Cllr Ashwood said: “I have apologised and Steve has accepted that apology.” 


8: FIONA ONASANYA 

Labour MP Fiona Onasanya leaves the Old Bailey in London, where she is accused of perverting the cou

Labour MP Fiona Onasanya leaves the Old Bailey in London, where shewas accused of perverting the course of justice by lying to Cambridgeshire Police about who was driving a speeding car. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Ms Onasanya said: "Do you think, as your Member of Parliament, I would risk everything, and I mean everything, for the sake of points and a fine? 

“Could it be that I am innocent and have to clear my name because this is not correct what has happened?" 

 Ms Onasanya was jailed for perverting the course of justice. It was a unanimous verdict by the jury. 


9: STEVE TIERNEY  

Cllr Steve Tierney (left) with MP Steve Barclay

Cllr Steve Tierney (left) with MP Steve Barclay - Credit: Archant

“If you are under 45 and healthy, you have statistically more chance of dying by being struck by lightning that you do of during from Covid” he wrote. 

“It’s a big concern for the elderly and vulnerable but if you are frightened Covid is going to kill you then you must be equally frightened to go outside in the rain.  

“This sort of scaremongering is really harming young people and kids”. 

It was posted some months ago by the Conservative councillor for Wisbech who could probably fill a book with similar but for this article we content ourselves with this one.  

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