Independent Residents’ Group boycott Havering council meeting in protest against Newham merger

13:15 28 February 2014

Leader of the Independent Residents' Group, Cllr Jeff Tucker.

Leader of the Independent Residents' Group, Cllr Jeff Tucker.


Empty seats set tongues wagging at Wednesday’s full council meeting, as the Independent Residents’ Group staged a no-show in protest against the back office merger between Havering and Newham councils.

Cllr David Durant.Cllr David Durant.

During proceedings, fellow councillors took turns to slam the group for missing “one of the most important” meetings of the year, in which budget proposals were debated and eventually passed.

But Independent Residents’ Group (IRG) member, Cllr David Durant confirmed that the absence of all three party representatives was a deliberate protest against the merger, which he claimed was “driven through on the back of a race row” and not publicised.

He said: “We have raised the issue a number of times and don’t feel it’s being reported. Maybe now it will.”

The merger has seen Havering Council merge all of its back-office administrative services with Newham Council.

In November, IRG leader, Cllr Jeffrey Tucker, sparked a race row by saying white council officers would find it “awkward and uncomfortable” to work with non-white colleagues in Newham.

Yesterday (Thu), Cllr Tucker contacted the Recorder from a business trip in Thailand to say although he had never missed a full council meeting in 12 years, even if he had been in the country, the “one-off” protest would have gone ahead.

“The way the council is being run stinks,” he said, “You work hard to put a good idea through and it is discredited.”

After labelling the merger as the “worst ever decision,” Cllr Tucker added that his ejection from January’s full council - for shouting “bullies” in the chamber - also played a part in the decision.

“Of course,” he said. “I am not a dog to be kicked. Kick me enough and I am going to bite back. And they have kicked me too much.

Commenting on the party’s absence, Cllr Lesley Kelly suggested that the group “couldn’t find their crayons.”

Deputy leader, Cllr Michael Armstrong, said: “It’s appalling that they don’t turn up. It shows a lack of commitment.”

To read the Recorder’s stories about the merger and the IRG’s stance, click the links on the right.

Related articles


Latest Romford News Stories

18 minutes ago
Dead koi at a farm in Collier Row. Picture Crown copyright.

An outbreak of fish herpes has been confirmed in Collier Row.

Police is appealing for anyone with information to call 101

A 59-year-old maintenance engineer has been left traumatised after being randomly beaten up in his van by two men.

Rosewood Medical Centre, Astra Close, Hornchurch. Picture: Google Maps.

Thousands of patients registered with a doctor’s practice will be automatically transferred to a different surgery following the retirement of a GP.


A proposal to install an ice rink in market place over the Christmas period is due to be considered by a council committee tonight (Thursday).

Yesterday, 16:46

A 1940s tea party was organised to raise awareness about dementia.

Yesterday, 16:20

A former coroner for Havering has been suspended and an investigation into his conduct launched after families complained of waiting more than a year for death certificates.

Yesterday, 15:30
Residents have expressed their concerns for the pilot police scheme which would see the borough's force merge with Barking and Dagenham and Redbridge.

Residents have expressed their concerns at a new pilot scheme which would see Havering Police merging with other forces.

Yesterday, 14:38
There is queuing traffic on the A13 after a crash between two cars and a van.

There is queuing traffic on the A13 after a crash between two cars and a van.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news


Show Job Lists

News from your area


Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.


£3,000 goes a long way at Boots

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

Kit yourself out and go Apple mad!

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now