Squabble sees politicians get bent out of shape over buses
A POLITCAL row has broken out over news that bendy buses will no longer be used on Bristol's £130 million rapid transit system.
As reported in The Post, Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Jon Rogers announced that the bendy buses had been dumped in favour of eco-friendly single-decker coaches.
But veteran Conservative councillor Peter Abraham has claimed that the statement was a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts.
He also called for the issue to be referred to an independent auditor.
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He added: "The scrapping of the bendy bus has been widely reported as a fact.
"The public has been deliberately misled and I really think there should be some sort of inquiry.
"In fact no decision has been made as yet and cannot be made for at least another 18 months.
"This statement was a political statement dressed up as fact and it is wrong to do something like this during an election."
Dr Rogers replied: "To be honest Mr Abraham is grasping at straws.
"We are in the middle of election and everyone is making statements of one kind or another.
"This was a statement issued by me about the bendy bus and I cannot see what the problem is.
"We are in the middle of a political campaign and we are all making statements of one kind or another."
The issue was raised at the weekly meeting between Bristol City Council's party leaders and the chief executive Graham Sims.
According to the city council, the statement issued was a political statement issued by transport boss Tim Kent with the backing of Dr Rogers.
The council added that it was issued not as a statement of policy but a statement of Dr Roger's approach, if he was elected mayor.
The chief executive and the council are not allowed to make political statements during elections.
However the council did add that a decision on bendy buses would not be made for at least 18 months.
And it will be a decision that will need to be made in agreement neighbouring authorities – South Gloucestershire and North Somerset, as the service will run across boundary. Bus operators will also be involved in the decision making.
The Local Enterprise Partnership is also backing the rapid transit system. Its chairman Colin Skellet added: "We are looking to have the right vehicle on the three new routes. In my opinion that is unlikely to be a bendy bus."