Essex man courted with pounds 87m road improvement
Essex is one of the key battlegrounds for the election - with a number of marginal Tory seats which are being targeted for visits by all three party leaders. But a most surprising initiative is due to be taken at 6am today with the publication of a "Conservative News" press release, headed: "John Watts MP, roads minister, announces pounds 87.5 million road scheme."
It is most improper for government announcements to be made at this stage of an election campaign, let alone on Conservative Party notepaper. But it is most unlikely that civil servants in the Department of Transport would have agreed to issue a press release through the official Whitehall machinery.
That begs the question of whether such a decision could have been made following the prorogation of Parliament - or whether it had deliberately been held back by Mr Watts to heighten the impact of his announcement.
When Mr watts made a similar announcement last week, of a pounds 300,000 road project for Kent, he was accused of abusing his ministerial position by Labour campaigns spokesman Brian Wilson, who said: "We are going to see a lot of fictional money being scattered around like confetti over the next few weeks by ministers who know they will never be in a position to spend it. Why should anyone believe a ministerial announcement which ... comes on Tory notepaper?"
Nevertheless, in spite of the impropriety of the timing, it appears that decisions have been taken, and are being doled out for political advantage. Mr Watts says in his handout: "Noise on the A120 between Stansted and Braintree is to be reduced, and a section of the M11 is to be widened. The Highways Agency will carry out a review of noise mitigation measures on the A120, and then start work on the detailed design and procurement process. Once this work has been completed, the pounds 87.5m scheme will be ready for construction when funding is given."
That hint that funding has not yet been signed, sealed and delivered is heightened when Mr Watts adds that he is "delighted to announce this preliminary work will go ahead". The word "preliminary" suggests something less than pounds 87.5m.
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Follow the latest updates from the Monday night Premier League fixture
Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and no-one was arrested
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
Peter Biaksangzuala died from his injuries in hospital on Sunday
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 2 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Lynda Bellingham dead: Loose Women presenter dies after battle with colon cancer
Sophia Loren: How I rejected Cary Grant and 'pulverised' Marlon Brando with my eyes
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
'Russian submarine spotted' by Swedish military off coast of Stockholm
Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Oscar Pistorius sentence: Athlete's wealth and notoriety provoke an overdue debate on South African prisons
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...
£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...