Dan Peters 23 January 2014

Pickles: I bash local government because I love it

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has insisted he ‘bashes’ local government because he loves the sector.

Speaking at the #AskPickles session of the communities and local government committee yesterday, at which Twitter users had submitted 1,600 questions, he said: ‘When I do a bit of bashing it’s in the confines of a very deep and loving relationship.

‘Sometimes there are local authorities that I think take a perverse pleasure in saying it’s nothing to do with me – it’s that Pickles fellow.’

Mr Pickles also clashed with Labour MP for Derby North as the session came on to the topic of housing.

The minister said: ‘We were greeted with the burnt out wreck of a policy. ‘We have built more council houses in this administration than the whole 13 years [under Labour].’

Mr Pickles also predicted that local referendums on council tax would become ‘part of the normal process’, and suggested local government reorganisation would cost too much money and take too long.

Committee chairman Clive Betts said ‘one or two of the questions were not fit for our session this afternoon’ and Mr Pickles admitted that some of the queries had made him blush.

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