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Havering councillor who joined Conservatives after being elected as independent speaks out after wave of abuse

PUBLISHED: 17:00 31 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:10 31 May 2018

South Hornchurch councillor Michael Deon-Burton, who was elected as an independent councillor on May 3, has joined the Conservative group. Photo: Ken Mears

South Hornchurch councillor Michael Deon-Burton, who was elected as an independent councillor on May 3, has joined the Conservative group. Photo: Ken Mears

Archant

The new deputy mayor of Havering, who was elected as an independent on May 3, has defended his decision to join the Conservatives after being subjected to a wave of personal abuse.

Councillor Michael Deon-Burton was elected in South Hornchurch with almost twice as many votes as the nearest Conservative candidate, but at the first post-election meeting of the council revealed he had joined the borough’s Tories – he was named deputy mayor of Havering at the same meeting.

His crossing the council chamber was condemned by a number of residents and other councillors, with some even calling for him to stand down and run for re-election as a Conservative.

But, in response to a letter sent by one of his constituents, Cllr Deon-Burton insisted his decision had been made with the best interests of his ward in mind.

“After the recent election, it was the Conservative Party which showed its metal and demonstrated they have the largest majority support,” he wrote.

“I stood loud open and proud as an individual seeking elected office so that I might, independent of predetermined party affiliation, fight and strive for that which is beneficial for those I represent – the residents of South Hornchurch.

“As an Independent, if I strike a deal with the ruling party, I can negotiate a better deal for South Hornchurch.”

The full council meeting in which Cllr Deon-Burton was named deputy mayor and unveiled his new political affiliation was held on May 23.

On May 25, he returned to his home in South Hornchurch to discover the hallway outside his flat, and the doors and windows of his home, had been daubed in graffiti labelling him a “Conservative traitor”.

Further graffiti was later discovered at a nearby bus stop and in a local park.

Havering Police are investigating the incident.

Cllr Deon Burton told the Recorder: “The negativity I am being subjected to at the moment has little to do with contrary political points of view.

“It is about one thing and one thing only – intimidation, and it is intimidation of the nastiest kind because it comes from the nameless and comes from the shadows.”

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