HALESOWEN and Rowley Regis MP James Morris has defended his decision to vote for council budget cuts across the country.

The Local Government Finance Report, which suggests more than £1bn of cuts to local authority budgets, was approved in Parliament by a majority of 298 MPs to 240 dissenters this week.

Mr Morris was one of 289 Conservative MPs to back the motion, with Shipley’s Philip Davies the only elected Tory member to vote against the proposals.

The plans drew the ire of Halesowen and Rowley Regis’ Labour Parliamentary candidate Ian Cooper.

He tweeted: “From inside his London bubble, Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP James Morris yesterday voted for another £1.3 billion in cuts to local councils, including Sandwell and Dudley.

“Remember this next time he poses in the press, wringing his hands about local services under pressure.”

However, Mr Morris retorted: “Every week I speak with residents in Halesowen & Rowley Regis about the issues facing them and their families.

“Most people understand the need to bring down the deficit and balance public spending.

“But people also see a huge amount of waste and know that even more can be done to ensure we get quality and efficient services.

“For example, Sandwell Council has spent a small fortune on investigations into wrongdoing by people, while he (Mr Cooper) says nothing on the continuing crisis in Sandwell.

“People need to have faith in politics, and that means being responsible with public spending, and calling out dodgy practice.”