July 23 2014 Latest news:
by Sam Blewett, Reporter
Sunday, May 11, 2014
This is the year where the Residents’ Association may take control of the council, albeit as part of a coalition.
Its leader, Cllr Clarence Barrett, believes “there will be no overall majority” in the town hall following the May 22 elections.
“I reckon the RA can form an administration,” he said. “But we are of course campaigning to win.”
The RA performs well in rural areas but in Havering it is stronger than any of its counterparts in other metropolitan boroughs.
Cllr Barrett, said: “You see RA in smaller groups in metropolitan areas and often in the shires but in Havering we have had a long tradition. In Havering people realise local people for local issues are the best for running the town hall.”
Last year’s council survey “Your Council, Your Say” showed that the four wards with the highest satisfaction ratings were Cranham, Upminster, St Andrew’s and Hacton where 11 of the 12 councillors are RA.
The party claims to be more democratic by being “whipless” and not forcing members to tow the party line.
Cllr Barrett said that group discussion and mutual respect informs the party’s direction.
Labour group leader, Keith Darvill, said that the RAs use their lack of whip as a “badge of honour” but it can create problems when councillors put their wards before the borough.
“Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture,” he said.
But the RA leader said that if one of his councillors cannot back a decision then they would not be forced to tow the party line.
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