FOREST MP Mark Harper has been blasted for ‘meddling in local politics’ and asked to apologise for criticising the work of council staff.

Forest of Dean District Council leader Tim Gwilliam demanded that Mr Harper should retract his criticism of the delay in clearing ice and snow from the council’s car parks last week.

Mr Harper said on Facebook he was disappointed that clearance work hadn’t started earlier and Heywood Road car park in Cinderford remained icy and some places were still covered in snow on Wednesday December 13.

He said: “The reason you have to pay to park in them, is so that the money can be used for their maintenance.

“My office raised this with Councillor Brian Robinson of the Conservative group on the district council, and I am pleased to say he has acted swiftly and spoken with district council officers.”

But at the authority’s cabinet meeting Cllr Gwilliam (FF, Berry Hill) praised council staff who he said went above and beyond their duty to battle the harsh winter conditions and make it in to work.

He said: “Certain Facebook posts led the public to an incorrect conclusion of how this council is being run and how the management of this council was being done.

“I’m pleased that they have been changed but I would still like those officers to be apologised to.

“It’s important for those officers and this council to be given an apology for an incorrect Facebook post.

“I felt that this council was let down by our local MP."