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Brentwood Lib Dem leader claims peer review is ‘cobblers’

PUBLISHED: 16:34 28 February 2014 | UPDATED: 16:34 28 February 2014

Cllr Aspinell is demanding a retraction

Cllr Aspinell is demanding a retraction

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The leader of the Liberal Democrat council opposition has rubbished claims made by a damning peer review that his group’s behaviour has been “vexatious”.

The report blasted the council’s “dysfunctional reputation” and criticised “frivolous” and “vexatious” requests for information made by some opposition members.

These requests came from members’ inquiries and Freedom of Information (FoI) requests.

But Lib Dem leader Cllr Barry Aspinell showed the Recorder an FoI request that reveals in the past four years, 22 FoI requests submitted to the council came from councillors, and members of the public made 2,133.

Cllr Aspinell said: “It’s a load of cobblers and we have proved it.

“I’m going to demand in the full council meeting to know why it was the case that we weren’t defended by our leader or by the managing director when they had the discussions with the peer review team.

“We should have a retraction of what the review is saying. I expect an apology and a retraction of the statement made.”

But Conservative council leader Cllr Louise McKinlay said: “The review is from an independent source, so there is no political motivation behind it.

“The message is clear and stark, and Barry needs to heed the comments, show leadership and sort out the behaviour of his group.

“The dysfunctionality of the opposition needs addressing and Cllr Aspinell as the leader of the main opposition group needs to deal with this properly, not squeak from the sidelines about how unfair it is.”

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