A NEWQUAY councillor has blasted the Lib Dem led county council after it told Richard Branson he was welcome to launch satellites from Cornwall Spaceport but not tourists.

Conservative Mark Formosa said he supports potential plans by Sir Richard Branson for space tourists to fly from Cornwall Spaceport.

He spoke out after Cornwall Council declared that it would give permission for Sir Richard to launch satellites into space but not tourists.

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Cornwall councillor Mr Formosa said: “I am staggered that the Liberal Democrat leadership of the council is saying to the rest of the world that Cornwall people are poor and so we do not want rich tourists coming here to go into space.

“It is absolutely the wrong impression to give of the hard-working, aspirational, and open-minded Cornish people.

“I do not know of anybody except the Liberal Democrats and their crony supporters who does not think it would be good for Cornwall to attract high-wealth tourists with money to spend here.

“Are the Liberal Democrats really saying they do not mind millionaires holidaying in Cornwall so long as they go to the beach and not into space, it is downright ridiculous.

“Cornwall needs investment to help support existing businesses and to create new jobs so that our economy can once again flourish as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“To have cutting edge space technology enterprises based here in Cornwall will be tremendously good for the economy and send out the right message that we are a vibrant, go-ahead county which is not living in the past and with our heads in the sand.

“As a Conservative councillor I would welcome Sir Richard’s plans to base not only his Virgin Orbit operation here but also his Virgin Galactic enterprise.

“Our future, our children’s futures, our children’s children’s futures, our planet’s future, lies in space, and I am giving my backing to the future.”

Cllr Formosa said as owners of Newquay Airport, the council risked jeopardising the £22 million project to develop it into Europe’s first spaceport by imposing politically driven restrictions.

“We are only a year away from Virgin Orbit’s planned first launch from Newquay to place satellites in space and the council should be supporting the spaceport in every way it can,” said Cllr Formosa.

“It is fortunate timing that we have elections coming up in May where the Cornish voters can kick-out this bumbling and out of touch council administration and allow fresh new leadership to take over.”