Robbie Moore has responded to criticism by the Ilkley Clean River Group over a leaflet sent to residents by the MP in which the group says he claims to have carried out work to secure bathing water status for the River Wharfe.
In a post on Facebook, the Ilkley Clean River Group highlighted that at the time of the application for the accolade, Mr Moore wasn't the MP for the area, and that indeed it was his predecessor John Grogan who came up with the idea.
The group said: "We are sad to see Robbie Moore claiming in a leaflet to Ilkley households to have carried out work to secure bathing status for Ilkley. We applied for bathing status with the support of local people, our MP at the time John Grogan (whose idea it was), Bradford and Ilkley councils. Robbie Moore was not our MP when we applied.
"This is disingenuous about the years of work the town and our group put into securing both bathing status, and the current investment by Yorkshire Water. By using citizen science to make the pollution visible in Ilkley and along the Wharfe as a whole; by holding the regulators to account through visits by Environment Agency and Ofwat Chairs and CEOs/Director, our representation at the Environment Select Committee, and our Town Meetings; through our longstanding media campaign (from Our Troubled Rivers through to Countryfile, the national and local news); our incident reporting; we have relentlessly worked to secure the investment we are now seeing.
"We have valued the support we have had from so many people, including our MPs, but claiming the developments as a result of a single persons action is just not right.
"Thank you all of you in Ilkley who have volunteered and contributed to cleaning up the Wharfe at Ilkley."
Responding on Wednesday evening, Mr Moore said he was sad to see the comments posted online, adding: "As you know very well from the moment of my election, I have championed at every level the great work of your group, including mentioning the Ilkley Clean River Group within my maiden speech in Parliament. And you also know that my interaction on this subject has not just been in the House of Commons chamber, but that I have had many a meeting with yourselves and other stakeholders, including the Environment Minister and DEFRA Officials prior to the designation being awarded in December 2020, a year after my election, and I have continued to speak on this subject in Westminster ever since."
The MP says he has mentioned the work of the Ilkley Clean River Group and the bathing water status application process on seven occasions in Parliament.
He added: "It is worth noting though that our former Labour MP never mentioned either the Ilkley Clean River Group or the Ilkley Bathing Water Status application in Parliament once. In fact, there is no record of him ever mentioning this issue in Parliament at all.
"I am of course very happy to mention the Ilkley Clean River Group in my next Conservative Newsletter Update should you wish, but until then, I share a little video below - just to refresh memories of how many times I have championed your group. I hope you will agree, that neither my chamber contributions nor indeed my Conservative Newsletter to which you refer actually state that the designation is the result of ‘a single persons actions'."