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MP stands up to MoD allegations
BICESTER’S MP stepped in to defend workers after a string of allegations against one of the town’s biggest employers.
Tony Baldry dismissed an attack on Bicester Defence Storage and Distribution Centre by Welsh MP Elfyn Llwyd as “fantasy politics”.
The Plaid Cymru MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd criticised MoD Bicester for spending £800 to send a £44 pair of boots to Northern Ireland and said the scale of error at the site was “endemic”.
He also alleged costs were inflated ready for a management buyout, deliveries purposely made late so haulage firms could charge twice, and items sent by courier unnecessarily.
In the parliamentary debate on Wednesday, he said: “That (the boots issue) is not the only example of MoD Bicester’s excessive spending, excessive pricing and excessive commissioning that has come my way in the intervening months. The scale of management error is so large and so endemic that, to my eyes, it almost looks systematic.
“In a nutshell, we believe that the logistics operation is having its costs inflated in order to hive it off into the private sector.”
But Mr Baldry refuted his allegations, saying he was “long on assertion and short on evidence” and more appropriate for the back pages on satirical magazine Private Eye.
Mr Baldry said: “If there were any such evidence, I assure him that it would have been drawn to the attention of management, politicians, the House and me by the trade unions and that it would have been investigated.
“I understand that in the run-up to ministerial decisions about the future of defence logistics, there are some around the country who will have an interest in rubbishing Bicester, but I am sorry that it has been done in such a way.”
A decision is expected in the autumn over proposals to consolidate defence logistics. Mr Baldry has championed Bicester as the best place because of its road, rail and air links.