Tory MP accused of ‘cheating constituents’ out of ‘valuable MP time’ after meeting just one businessman

Local councillor says meeting just one constituent is ‘morally wrong’

Matt Mathers
Friday 12 November 2021 23:44
<p>MP raised questions after posting same selfie three times </p>

MP raised questions after posting same selfie three times

A Tory MP has been accused of "cheating" his constituents out of "valuable MP time" after meeting just one businessman at a surgery in his Yorkshire constituency.

Earlier this week Nick Fletcher, the MP for Don Valley, denied claims that he had faked a visit to Thorne after posting an indentical selfie to his Facebook page for the third time in 10 months.

“Great to spend the afternoon in Thorne. It is good to see it thriving again after a tough year,” Mr Fletcher captioned the post, which appears to have been taken on a quiet, pedestrianised high street in Thorne and uploaded to Facebook on 10 November.

In the image, Mr Fletcher, who was first elected to parliament in 2019, is seen standing outside shops. Christmas decorations – including trees – can be seen hanging from the walls of buildings close by.

The same photo was uploaded to his page on two other occasions on 21 December last year - after prime minister Boris Johnson tightened Covid lockdown restrictions - and 20 September this year, when he participated in several parliamentary votes.

When approached by The Independent for comment about the most recent posting of the picture, Mr Fletcher said: "Having spent the afternoon walking round Thorne with a local businessman and calling at a local café for a coffee, I forgot to take a photo.

"So, on my next visit, I'll make sure to take a new photo to promote this great town in #DonValley!"

Councillor Craig Ellis, the Labour mayor of Thorne and Moorends, claimed that he had seen “no proof” or “advertising” that a constituency surgery took place on 10 November.

“Although posting an old photo three times is not crime of the century, it’s Mr Fletcher’s actions after the event that are frustrating,” he added.

“For him to meet with just one local business owner is morally and ethically wrong. In my eyes, every business owner in Thorne deserves to be listened to - not to mention the wider community. We feel let down and he should be held accountable for his actions.”

When asked by The Independent for further comment, a spokesperson for Mr Fletcher said that he held a constituency surgery in Thorne for one businessman.

After he posted the selfie on his Facebook page for the third time earlier this week, locals mocked the red wall MP. “When you like a selfie so much you’ve used the same picture three times…” one said in the comments.

“How come Xmas trees are up when not putting them up till after 12th?” another wrote.

Mr Fletcher was elected to his seat at the December 2019 election, when he ousted Labour incumbent and former minister Caroline Flint.

He won 43.2 per cent (19,609) of the vote compared with Ms Flint’s 35.2 per cent (15,979).

According to his website, Mr Fletcher has spent his entire life living and working in the Doncaster area and has been running his business there for 25 years.

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