Opposition take top seats in Havering Council
PUBLISHED: 13:17 13 June 2014 | UPDATED: 13:30 13 June 2014
Opposition councillors are among those who have taken top posts at the council, leading to the deputy mayor being labelled a “hypocrite”.
Conservative Roger Ramsey was sworn in as leader of the Tory minority council at the Town Hall in Romford on Wednesday night and he selected Cllr Damian White as his deputy.
Cllr Ramsey said his appointment was an “honour and a privilege” but he warned that, while austerity in the last four years had been felt mainly within the council, and not on members of the public, the tough decisions to come may leave the situation “somewhat different”.
Outgoing mayor Cllr Eric Munday then stepped down to make way for Conservative Linda Trew to take the mayoralty for the upcoming municipal year.
She picked RA Cllr Barbara Matthews to be her deputy. However, Romford Tory MP Andrew Rosindell described Cllr Matthews’ acceptance of the post as “hypocritical”.
After the meeting, he said: “Barbara Matthews, I can’t believe the hypocrisy. She said she would never work with the Romford Conservatives but as soon as she gets the chance she relinquishes her stance and takes the job.”
Cllr Matthews admitted she has been an opponent of Romford Conservatives but denies that she has taken an offer from them. Rather she has taken a politically-neutral role from Cllr Trew.
“Andrew Rosindell is being ridiculous. She’s not the Conservative mayor, she’s the Mayor of Havering. He brings politics into everything – I dare to say he’s even got a blue toothbrush,” she said.
Bargaining in the lead-up to the meeting saw a decision to make opposition members the chairmen of committees.
Cllr Ramsey said this was to “avoid tensions” that would make working together more “difficult”.
Conservative, Ukip, RA, IRG and Labour councillors will head committees.
All cabinet posts went to Conservative councillors.