Aylesbury MP David Lidington has been criticised after saying he ‘hated’ Hemel Hempstead town centre – although many people from the town actually agreed with his sentiments.
The minister for Europe made the comments to The Bucks Herald when asked about Aylesbury’s Waterside proposals, but he added: “When you look at the shopping malls they actually have a wider range of shops than in central Aylesbury.”
His comments were picked up by the Hemel Hempstead Gazette.
One of their readers labelled Mr Lidington ‘rude’ while another said: “I know Hemel’s not great, but Ayelsbury town centre is shocking. It’s a fair bit worse than Hemel.”
Mr Lidington’s Tory colleague, Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning, said he is ‘very protective’ of his town in the wake of the comments.
He said: “David says we have better shops and a better shopping experience, and frankly, I completely agree. Of course I disagree with his other comment, which I think could have been taken out of context.
“I am hugely supportive of my town, we have great shopping outlets and, over the next few months with the planned town centre redevelopment, we will see an even better town centre. I hope more people will come here to shop from Aylesbury.”
However, other residents in Hemel actually agreed with Mr Lidington.
One said, ‘You would have to question his judgement if he said he liked it!’ while another commented: ‘Sorry to say this, but I wholeheartedly agree with him’.