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Tories at war: Councillor claims Romford Conservative Association run like North Korean dictatorship

Cllr Andrew Curtin was deselected in the summer Cllr Andrew Curtin was deselected in the summer

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
9:36 AM

The Romford Conservative ­Association’s ideals have been likened to those of the despotic North Korean dictatorship by one of its own disillusioned councillors as an increasingly bitter civil war in the group rages on.

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Romford Tory Association chairman Cllr Osman Dervish has taken "offence" to comments his group is run like the North Korean stateRomford Tory Association chairman Cllr Osman Dervish has taken "offence" to comments his group is run like the North Korean state

The comments, made by popular Romford councillor Andrew Curtin, come in the wake of his deselection by the association in June and the more recent ­rejection of an appeal on that decison.

An appraisal report by the party, which led to his deselection, accused the Romford Town ward councillor of, among other things, not attending events regularly for the Romford gruop and for not having a “strong ­belief and understanding of Conservative values”.

Cllr Curtin, who is Havering Council cabinet member for culture, towns and communities, said in a letter to the Recorder that his deselection was a “bitter pill”.

“I may not be the North Korean style ideological purist that the current officers of Romford Conservative Association seem to want,” he said.

He added that he believed Conservatism should “avoid ­unnecessary interference in people’s lives.” The association’s chairman Cllr Osman Dervish said he took “offence” to the North Korean comparison. “I can only say that’s not the case.”

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Cllr Dervish added Cllr Curtin’s “style of Conservatism is not really an issue” that would have been taken into consideration in the deselection process.

Cllr Curtin, who has been working for the Tory party since he was 13 and comes from a long line of family involved with the party, said his appraisal contained numerous inaccuracies and that the association inhabitated a “parallel universe”. Cllr Dervish denied the inaccuraies.

Fellow Romford Conservative member Nick Jackson has expressed his support for Cllr Curtin saying he is “disgusted” at how the councillor had been treated.

“I don’t see why they should kick him out and bring in someone else,” Mr Jackson said.

“I really feel strongly about it. Cllr Curtin has always worked for the borough.”

Read Cllr Curtin‘s full letter on p16.

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