Royal row after Morecambe MP invites Chancellor to open road

George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer and David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale.
George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer and David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale.
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The Morecambe MP asking the Chancellor to open the M6 link road has kicked off a right royal rumpus.

When David Morris invited George Osborne to open the ‘Bay Gateway’ he didn’t realise Lancashire County Council bosses were already lining up a member of the royal family.

Darren Clifford.

Darren Clifford.

County councillor Darren Clifford has called Mr Morris’ intervention “embarrassing” and “a political stunt”.

But Tory Mr Morris accused the Labour-run county council of not following protocol because they didn’t tell him they were in talks with Buckingham Palace.

The saga began in Parliament on Monday when Mr Morris asked Mr Osborne if he would open the link road during treasury questions.

The Chancellor replied: “Diary permitting I would be delighted to open the link road.”

But Coun Clifford, who is leading the project on the opening of the Heysham to M6 road, said: “It’s a question Mr Morris has absolutely no place asking. It’s a political stunt.

“It’s more embarrassing for the Chancellor because he has to answer the question in good faith.

“We’ve been working with Lord Shuttleworth (Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire) to secure a royal person to come and open it. We’re not in a position to announce that just yet.

“David Morris will be invited to the opening of the road as a guest but he doesn’t get to say who the guest of honour is.

“As the local MP I would strongly encourage him to come and speak to Lancashire County Council.

“But you don’t just announce a member of the royal household coming to open something, there are protocols about these things.”

But Mr Morris said: “The first protocol they should follow is to tell my office what is going to happen.

“It’s not the protocol for me to contact the county council.

“I’ve had meetings with businesses and the (Lancaster) Chamber of Commerce and everybody is asking me what’s going on. That’s why I asked the Chancellor. The Department of Transport don’t even know anything about it.

“If Darren Clifford does have something up his sleeve then great. If he gets a royal then I’m happy.

“But I just wish they would tell me what they are doing.”