DARWEN’S MP will be quizzed by councillors after agreeing to attend their next meeting.

Jake Berry had come under criticism from all sides of the town council chamber in recent months for failing to respond to invitations to the council’s meetings.

Particular anger had come from Liberal Democrat Paul Browne and deputy chairman Pete Hollings, a Labour councillor.

With council meetings taking place on the first Tuesday of every month, clashing with Mr Berry’s commitments at Westminster, he has never been able to attend.

But at Tuesday’s meeting of the council at the town hall in Croft Street, Coun Hollings told colleagues that Mr Berry had agreed to attend the next meeting, on August 5.

Coun Browne said: “We have got a response from our MP that he is attending the August 5 meeting.

“I am not knocking the MP for not attending the meetings but I am knocking him for the time it has taken him to come.”

Mr Berry told the Lancashire Telegraph: “I am delighted to accept the town council’s invitation to attend its next meeting.

“I am looking forward to working with our town council in lobbying on planning issues like Bailey’s Field and Cranberry Lane and improvements to our markets.”

Coun Browne went on to say other prospective parliamentary candidates should be invited to speak at the council.

He said: “I would also like to ask the Labour candidate Will Straw if he would like to come, and when we have a candidate if he or she would like to come and speak to us.

“I am glad Pete Hollings got a response from him to say he is coming next month and I hope we have some difficult questions to ask.”

Councillors agreed that Mr Straw and any other confirmed candidates for next year’s General Election would be invited to speak at the council.

Mr Straw said: “It is really important for the elected representatives of Darwen Town Council to have the chance to question and scrutinise each of the candidates and find out what they would do after the General Election.

“Pete Hollings has been in touch with me and I have suggested a date. I am just waiting for confirmation on that.”