PRIVATE documents from 2014 show Warrington North MP Helen Jones threatened to report a neighbourhood project to the Charity Commission.

They also reveal an accusation, from the same year, that the Labour politician was undermining her own party’s election efforts in the town.

But the MP told the Warrington Guardian she would not make ‘any apologies’ for her political style.

It comes after letters and e-mails between the politician and other Labour figures over recent years were anonymously sent to the Warrington Guardian.

They also shine a light on some of the tensions between her and Labour members.

It is believed tensions continue to exist between the MP and some members in the town.

Last year, former council leader Cllr Terry O’Neill (LAB – Burtonwood and Winwick) said he believed more could have been achieved for Warrington if he had a ‘working relationship’ with Mrs Jones during his time in charge.

Warrington Guardian:

Cllr Terry O'Neill

The documents reveal that in 2014, Jean Flaherty, Terry Flaherty and Ian Smith, who has since died – from Fairfield Community Association – wrote to Mrs Jones about dog fouling, litter and fly-tipping.

The header of the letter featured ‘Fairfield and Howley Neighbourhood Project’, while ‘Fairfield Community Association’ featured as the footer alongside their names.

In the letter to Mrs Jones, they said: “You are obviously unaware that community/residents’ associations within the Fairfield and Howley ward have for some time now been actively involved in tackling the anti-social menaces of dog fouling, litter dropping and fly-tipping.

“A few negative soundbites from random residents and an apparent campaign to solve problems which are already being tackled can be construed as being opportunist and, in relation to what we are trying to achieve at grassroots level, counter-productive.”

Warrington Guardian:

Cllr Jean Flaherty

They added the work was being done ‘in close co-operation’ with ward councillors and Warrington borough council officers.

In a letter in response, Mrs Jones said they ‘seem to believe’ that they have a ‘right to tell an elected Member of Parliament how and where she should campaign’.

She said: “Secondly, your letter suggests that you wish to prevent people contacting their Member of Parliament and that they should contact you instead.

“You have no right to do either of these things.

“Any Member of Parliament has not only a duty, but a right, to contact her constituents and take up any issue they wish to raise.

“If you attempt to prevent this, I shall raise the matter on the floor of the House as an issue of parliamentary privilege.”

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Warrington Guardian:

MP Helen Jones

She also stated that she noted that the organisation’s registered charity number was quoted on the letter before threatening the write to the Charity Commission, which registers and regulates charities.

The number featured underneath Fairfield and Howley Neighbourhood Project.

Mrs Jones added: “As you will be well aware, strict rules govern the workings of charities.

“If you persist in using charitable funds and premises for what is clearly political campaigning, I shall write to the Charity Commission and ask for an investigation into your operations.”

Following a meeting, in an e-mail to Eric Wilson, who at the time was a senior Labour Party official, Cllr Flaherty said the ‘meeting felt’ the response from Mrs Jones was ‘intimidating, threatening and aggressive’.

Cllr Flaherty, who became a Labour borough councillor for Fairfield and Howley in 2016, wrote to Mr Wilson on behalf of the Fairfield and Howley Community Action Forum.

In another e-mail, which forms part of the documents, Cllr Tony Higgins (LAB – Fairfield and Howley), currently the executive board member for leisure and community, e-mailed the then council leader Cllr Terry O’Neill, Cllr Russ Bowden (LAB – Birchwood), the current leader, and Cllr Chris Fitzsimmons (LAB – Birchwood) about the matter.

Warrington Guardian:

Cllr Tony Higgins

He said the letter was a ‘complete overreaction and has caused a lot of upset’, adding that it was an ‘aggressive reply’.

In another email in 2014, former deputy council leader Cllr Mike Hannon (LAB – Orford) wrote to Mr Wilson to formally complain about a press release from Mrs Jones – which he believed was ‘yet again deliberately seeking to embarrass and undermine’ the Labour administration running the authority.

In relation to the MP, in the e-mail, Cllr Hannon said: “Her actions are also counter-productive to our election efforts across the whole of Warrington (especially Nick Bent’s efforts to win the parliamentary target seat of Warrington South) and in particular the forthcoming election in the Orford ward.”

Warrington Guardian:

Cllr Mike Hannon

In another e-mail from 2014, the then leader Cllr O’Neill told Mrs Jones the Labour group agrees that it needs a co-ordinated single campaign in the run up to the general and local elections in 2015.

He also said ‘we need an honest and frank debate’ in the party with regards the 2014 elections.

Cllr O’Neill added: “UKIP and the protest vote is one obvious issue, also the only seat we lost to the Liberals was Westbrook, this needs an internal investigation by the party to see exactly what happened and why.”

Mrs Jones subsequently emailed Cllr O’Neill over a potential meeting, with him and Cllr Hannon, to discuss future campaigning, including a strategy to tackle UKIP.

She added: “Whilst writing, can I draw your attention to the statement at the bottom of my e-mail which makes it clear that it is for the intended recipients only.”

In response, Cllr O’Neill says: “Forgive me for being confused, your original e-mail inferred you wanted one co-ordinated campaign throughout Warrington which I and the Labour group fully support.

“However, your latest e-mail says you want a separate meeting which is going back to the bad old days of 1997 onwards where the two MPs in Warrington wouldn’t sit in the same room together, never mind run a co-ordinated campaign.

“Furthermore, I presume your last sentence of the e-mail below is having a go at me for copying Nick Bent into my reply to you last time which I think is bizarre, please note I’ve copied Nick and Mike into this response.

“I do not agree with having separate meetings, we need you as the candidate for Warrington North and Nick as the candidate for Warrington South, along with the relevant CLP officers, plus regional office, to attend one single campaign meeting.”

Warrington Guardian:

Nick Bent

He added that ‘we need to work together as a Labour family in Warrington’ to ensure two MPs are elected, as well as to increase the majority on the council again in the 2015 elections.

Mrs Jones has responded to the matters brought to light in the documents.

She said: “I'm not going to make any apologies for standing up for my constituents, for insisting that we campaign in Warrington North, or for taking on those who would deny people the right to see their MP.

“If the council get it wrong, as they have done with Peel Hall or trying to put a waste transfer station on the A49, then I'll say so.

“Some people clearly have a problem with that but tough!

“They don't have a divine right not to be questioned and my job is not to be the council’s nodding donkey.

“There are some people who have been selectively leaking and making spurious complaints for over 20 years.

“They've not managed to silence me before and they won't now.”