Corby MP criticises attempt to ‘hijack’ squash court campaign

Tom Pursglove.
Tom Pursglove.

Corby MP Tom Pursglove has spoken of his disappointment after his attempts to secure new squash courts came under criticism.

The Tory MP brought up the lack of squash courts - with Corby believed to be the biggest UK town without any - in the House of Commons, and has supported a campaign led by Corby Squash to get some.

Uppingham School Sports Centre squash courts NNL-170910-092231002

Uppingham School Sports Centre squash courts NNL-170910-092231002

But his efforts have been slammed on social media, with many saying new squash courts are the least pressing issue the town faces.

Mr Pursglove said: “It is very disappointing that a small number of individuals have decided to hijack what is a good community-led campaign for narrow political ends, by entirely misrepresenting my position.

“The fact is that I was approached by Corby Squash to support their campaign to try and secure some new squash courts in Corby, given that there aren’t any at present.

“As the local MP, as part of my ‘listening campaign’, I am regularly approached by different groups, charities and organisations seeking my support for initiatives and funding bids and I am always delighted to help where I can - as I am in this case.

“Ultimately, what could possibly be wrong with trying to secure private investment or squash governing body funding for new courts in the town?”

A number of residents took to Facebook to question the MP’s priorities, given the situation facing children’s centres, libraries and the Corby Urgent Care Centre.

Katherine Rutter said: “Perhaps when NCC have finished killing off the libraries and children’s centres you could convert one of those into a squash court.

“We do not have a “pressing need” for squash courts in Corby.

“We do have a pressing need for adequate early intervention for disadvantaged children and their families.”

Amanda Rodgers said: “40 per cent cuts proposed on children’s centres...but a squash court is priority?

“How many of your constituents did you liaise with before jumping to this ridiculous notion?

“Corby is not in need of squash courts, Corby is in need of a hospital, homelessness reduction and support, investment into our children’s futures and a Labour representative.”

But Mr Pursglove, who defeated Labour’s Beth Miller at the June snap General Election, said each issue was separate to the other and that he had tirelessly campaigned on the issues brought up.

He said: “This has nothing at all to do with the Urgent Care Centre, the Pen Green Children’s Centre and the libraries - all of which are entirely separate issues, which come under the auspices of entirely separate public bodies.

“On each of those issues, I continue to campaign tirelessly on behalf of local people.

“Indeed, in any event, I would argue that improving sporting opportunities can only be good for health and wellbeing, which in itself helps to relieve pressure on other public services, such as the NHS.

“My job as the local Member of Parliament requires me to support countless important and competing priorities at once: highlighting any one of these at any one time, is not to say that others are less significant.

“For example, I have ran a vigorous campaign on the Urgent Care Centre, with considerable success so far, and I am keeping the pressure up on the CCG for a long-term commitment.

“I have helped in the past, and have again offered to meet with Pen Green, to see how best I can help and support them in ensuring their concerns are heard loud and clear at County Hall.

“I am also actively working to help support local communities that wish to secure their library provision.”