A CAMPAIGN group has written to every Essex MP urging them to put pressure on County Hall to withdraw its controversial plans to close dozens of libraries in Essex.

Save Our Libraries Essex believes Essex County Council’s proposals, which could see up to 44 libraries shut had a significant impact on local election results last week when the Conservatives lost numerous seats.

Prettygate, Hedingham, Holland-on-Sea libraries are among those threatened.

It comes as Labour’s deputy ;eader Tom Watson has written to Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright, calling on him to launch an inquiry into the proposals.

Sole’s Andy Abbott said: “Was the local election result in Essex simply down to Brexit or did local issues play a significant role?

“We are a non-party political campaign. However, it has to be pointed out the party wishing to close up to 60 per cent of our libraries had a bad night.

“Politicians across our county need to think long and hard about this act of cultural vandalism.

“If we don’t see a U-turn on library closures what happened in our county town and beyond will be repeated at the next County Hall elections.”

Labour’s Mr Watson has questioned whether the cuts would be a breach of the council’s statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service.

He said: “If these cuts go ahead, precious community resources will be lost in exchange for very little monetary gain.”

So far, about 60,000 signatures have been added to more than 50 petitions opposing County Hall’s library closure plans.

Campaigners have also held protest marches, book raids at libraries and most recently a Young People’s March for Libraries in Colchester town centre.

In its letter, Sole is calling for Essex MPs to write to David Finch, leader of Essex County Council, requesting the Future Libraries Strategy be withdrawn.

Campaigners will gather in Chelmsford on June 8, before marching to County Hall in what is being called the Carnival for Libraries.

Last month, Sole launched an alternative consultation following a number of complaints being made about the content of County Hall’s official poll.

A county council spokesman said previously its own consultation, which received more than 21,000 responses, was the official route for people to have their say.

He said: “The consultation is now closed and the results are being analysed.

“All responses, including the petitions from Sole, will be considered before any decisions are made.

“No decisions about any library has or will be made until the county council Cabinet considers the final strategy in the summer.”

n See Tom Watson's full letter on Page 12.