Bill Esterson, the Labour MP for Sefton Central has criticised a government minister for going back on a promise to allow coastguard staff to speak to MPs.
The MP found out this evening that transport minister, Mike Penning has told coastguard staff not to appear before the influential Transport Select Committee despite promising that the committee could hear evidence from them.
Mr Penning had told MPs at a debate last month that coastguard staff would be able to give evidence. He told the chairman of the committee today that he was not going to allow this to happen.
Bill Esterson, The Labour MP for Sefton Central represents Crosby Coastguard Station which is threatened with closure by the government as part of its review of the Marine and Coastguard Agency.
Bill said: “I am appalled that the minister has gone back on his word. He told MPs and staff that staff could give evidence to the Transport Select Committee. He has done a complete u-turn. He told MPs last month that coastguard staff could give evidence to the select committee. This change of heart is a big worry. Coastguard staff have previously told me that they have been warned not to speak out. Now the government has ordered them not to tell talk to MPs. This is a disgrace and it is worrying for the future of the coastguard, for jobs, for public safety and for Crosby coastguard especially.”