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August 5th, 2009 |

Tory Revenge

From the Lib Dem County Councillors today:

In a blatant act of revenge, Lord Hanningfield and the Conservative administration group at Essex County Council have today (5 August) voted to cut off the only opposition group’s one full time support staff in a bid to gag the opposition. The Conservative group itself will continue to employ 13 full time staff to support its own Administration group and will also continue to accept Special Responsibility Allowances totaling around £600,000 on top of their normal councillor allowances, all at the taxpayers’ expense. The move came when the administration decided to make political staff to the Liberal Democrat and Conservative group redundant.

Speaking about the decision, Lib Dem group leader Cllr Tom Smith-Hughes said: “Only recently, Lord Hanningfield was complaining to the national press that a “vindictive campaign” had been launched against him by a Liberal Democrat MP. This was in response to the news that Scotland Yard had decided to investigate Lord Hanningfield’s House of Lords expenses. It can hardly be a coincidence that a short time later the Lib Dem group has been thrown off the council’s Waste Advisory Board and is now having its only full time staff member made redundant.

“Given the already outrageous number of full time employees dedicated to working for the Administration group, it is clear that this Tory group’s main preoccupation is with occupying power and then cutting down the opportunities for anyone to question them. It appears there are shades of North Korea in Essex Conservatives’ style of governance, rather than the bright new Conservative image peddled by David Cameron.”

Note: the decision is technically subject to 30 days consultation followed by 3 months redundancy notice.

Chris Black adds

“I know the lady they are making redundant. The public don’t know her but I have seen personally how her work helps Essex residents. The Conservatives at County Hall really really don’t like being questioned or challenged – and they don’t like Lib Dem councillors getting the imformation they want quickly.”

4 Responses to “Tory Revenge”

  1. 1
    Paul:

    As a Co-Opted Member of the County Council, I have to concur that there are fewer and fewer spaces being left for an intelligent scrutiny and critique of this administration. This is a great shame and should be challenged.

    I say this alongside stating that I have high regard for the integrity and skills of a small handful of County Councillors, including some at Cabinet level and active as Chairs of Scrutiny Committees. I feel sure that many of these Councillors have no great relish, either, for the political empire-building and grandstanding that takes place elsewhere in the structures.

  2. 2
    Mike Nobes:

    Chris, did we have any answer on how Lord Hanningfield splits his time between the House of Lords and his duties as Leader of the ECC. I still believe that this is a conflict of interest and should be reviewed by the Ethics Committee. He cannot devote quality time to both posts.

    This act is vindictive in the worst sense of the meaning. I truly feel sorry for the person made redundent through no fault of their own.

    Truly a consortium, this kind of business would not last five minutes in business!

  3. 3
    Chris Black:

    It’s clear that not all Tories are happy about this.

    One said to me ‘ We’ve forgotten that we won’t be in power for ever….”

  4. 4
    Temple Way Resident:

    I assume this lady wasn’t a member of a trade union to help represent her interests? This surely must be a blatent abuse of employment law?

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