David Cameron’s mother has signed a petition against spending cuts in his constituency.
Retired magistrate Mary Cameron, 81, has put her name to a battle to save dozens of children’s centres due to be closed by Conservative-run Oxfordshire County Council, according to the Daily Mirror.
The British Prime Minister previously wrote to the local authority in his capacity as MP for Witney expressing “disappointment” at planned cuts to museums, libraries and day centres for the elderly.
But Council leader Ian Hudspeth hit back, saying the curbs were the result of reductions in funding from central government.
Mrs Cameron apparently signed the petition while she was visiting her son.
She told the newspaper: “My name is on the petition but I don’t want to discuss this any further.”
The petition, which has attracted more than 7,000 signatures, is addressed to the council and its cabinet member for education, Melinda Tilley, and calls for 44 children’s centres to be kept open for universal use.
It says: “Our children’s centres are a lifeline to new parents who rely on locally accessible advice and support at a time when it is most needed.
“Cutting these essential services would leave families vulnerable and isolated, and fail an entire generation of children.”
Jill Huish, from the Save Oxfordshire Children’s Centres campaign, told the Banburyshire Info website: “I am delighted that Mary Cameron has joined the senior voices, including that of her son the Prime Minister, against the Conservative county council’s closure of children’s centres.
“It seems to be a bizarre situation where David Cameron is unable to defend children’s centres against the cruel cuts he’s allowed his own government to impose on local authorities.”
The council is planning to shut all 44 of the county’s children’s centres and halve the budget of £16m for early years education, campaigners say, replacing them with eight children and family centres which would only be accessible to the most vulnerable people, by referral.
The petition says: “It is a false economy to close children’s centres.
“Universal access to the early intervention services they provide has numerous economic and other long-term benefits for the health and well-being of parents, children and the wider community.”