Opinion: Dramatic U-turns are a plea for votes
PUBLISHED: 08:00 27 October 2019
In 2014 the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles accused five Labour-led councils of publishing 'propaganda on the rates' - using tax payers' money to produce literature deemed as political publicity.
Earlier this year Havering Council produced a 'special edition' of Living in Havering which was delivered to every household across Rainham, South Hornchurch and Elm Park - wards that fall in my constituency where the Leader of the Council is now challenging for the Parliamentary seat.
Residents are not stupid, they can see through such base cynicism and many have contacted me with concerns that their money was being used to fund Damian White's political aspirations. A Freedom of Information request revealed that Havering Council spent a total of £4,215.29 on the publication which comprised page after page of self-promotion.
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The special edition of Living in Havering is part of a growing pattern that has emerged regarding the three Havering wards that fall in my constituency, and it doesn't take much to join the dots.
I have been fighting alongside residents to protect Dover's Green in South Hornchurch since the council first announced their plans to concrete over it. Last year Damian White's administration spent north of £100,000 on legal fees alone to prevent the community from protecting the land - yet the day before announcing his candidacy, the Leader of the Council withdrew planning permission. People aren't stupid.
Now we hear that the council is launching a review of their recently announced policy to remove 30 minutes free parking from our local high streets.
These dramatic U-turns are little more than a plea for votes ahead of an imminent general election.