LIBRARY campaigners have hit out at their MP for a “wishy-washy letter” to the leader of Essex Council Council about cuts to libraries.

MP for Harwich and North Essex Sir Bernard Jenkin wrote to David Finch after meeting members of the Save Manningtree Library Action Group.

His letter included a list of concerns from the group about why the library has been earmarked for closure if volunteers don’t come forward to take over running it.

He said he is concerned for the future of the libraries in Manningtree and Dovercourt. But he went on to say he understood the challenge facing the authority and was hoping alternative solutions could be found.

But campaign leader Holly Turner said: “The content of his letter is disappointing, especially when we have seen the detailed responses sent to Essex County Council by his colleagues.

“It would have been incredibly heartening to see him highlight specific areas of concern but sadly this hasn’t happened.

“In my response to Essex County Council it’s very clear that I am challenging the entire consultation and its process, this accounts for all libraries across risk in Essex.

“It would have been positive for him to say that while this letter is from a Manningtree resident, the concerns outlined relate to all libraries in his constituency.”

Fellow Manningtree campaigner Debbie Burrows said: “Bernard Jenkin’s letter to Essex County Council is shameful.

“Talk about sitting on the fence. He should be standing strong behind us instead he gives a wishy-washy letter, it has no impact whatsoever.”

Sir Bernard said: “Manningtree, Wivenhoe and West Mersea have had their libraries earmarked for potential closure and I share people’s anger and concern.

“Following the meeting in Manningtree, I contacted the leader of the county council, David Finch, to make clear that these libraries must not be closed.

“If there is not new money, I am demanding alternative solutions to keep these buildings and services going.

“I also got a response from the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, Michael Ellis, and the Government is monitoring the Essex consultation to ensure that the council is meeting its legal obligations.

“I sense the county is already beginning to pull back.

“I have written again to cllr Finch to endorse the Manningtree action group’s comprehensive response to the consultation and I am supporting other communities campaigning to save their libraries.”