September 23 2014 Latest news:
Jane Ball, News Editor
Friday, November 22, 2013
The leaders of Havering and Newham councils have this afternoon released a joint statement urging a Rainham councillor to make a “full, unequivocal and public apology” for suggesting black and white council staff couldn’t work together.
A money-saving back-office merger between the two councils was given a provisional nod by both authorities this week.
But Cllr Jeffrey Tucker, who leads the Independent Residents’ Group that includes Havering’s only black councillor, said combining the services would be like putting “an African team and an English team” together.
He added he had been losing sleep over the issue.
“I think it’s a terrible idea,” he said. “I can’t see the two councils being able to work together.
“We’ve got 95 per cent white English workers in Havering Council and Newham Council is 95pc not white English.
“It would be like putting two football teams together – an African team and an English team – and saying: ‘Get on and work together’.”
Cllr Michael White, leader of Havering Council, and Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, branded Cllr Tucker’s comments, revealed today in the Romford Recorder, as “offensive, intolerable and wholly unproven”.
The full statement reads: “On behalf of Havering and Newham Councils and the people of both boroughs we condemn these offensive, intolerable and wholly unproven remarks.
“Staff of both councils already work well together irrespective of their backgrounds including in our shared services pilot. They work hard for all residents in both boroughs.
“We are proud of our boroughs, our people and the staff of both councils. We call on Councillor Tucker to immediately make a full, unequivocal and public apology for the offence he has so clearly caused.”