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Romford Tory councillors missed ‘important’ briefing on £4m council merger - to attend curry awards

07:00 03 March 2014

Cllrs Dervish and White attended the curry awards instead of a meeting on Havering's back-office merger.

Cllrs Dervish and White attended the curry awards instead of a meeting on Havering's back-office merger.

Archant

Two Conservative councillors have been criticised by party colleagues for failing to turn up to an “important” briefing on Havering Council’s £4m merger with Newham Council – in order to attend a curry ceremony.

Cllrs Osman Dervish and Damian White were guests at the British Curry Awards late last year when they were “meant to be at” a Conservative group meeting to examine the controversial back-office union, codenamed Project Romulus.

This week senior Tory councillors Micahel Armstrong, Geoff Starns and Andrew Curtin said the pair had their priorities wrong in attending the “glamorous” bash, nicknamed the “Oscars of the curry industry”, in Battersea, south London instead of the group meeting.

Cllr Armstrong, deputy council leader, said: “They should do the job taxpayers pay them for rather than attending glamorous jollies in London.”

Havering expects to make savings in services like payroll, HR and recruitment, under the scheme, voted through on November 27. It is believed another three councillors also attended the awards but the cabinet members chose not to criticise them.

Cllr Dervish said: “I was asked to attend by my employer (Romford MP Andrew Rosindell) as he does a lot of work for the Commonwealth. This was not an official meeting, it was a group meeting and it was unfortunate I couldn’t be there. I did look up the presentation and made myself aware of all the issues.” Cllr White did not respond.

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