'He has to go': Ex-Tory councillor to take on council leader at next election

Cllr Bob Perry

Cllr Bob Perry will stand as a candidate for Havering's Residents Associations in the Squirrels Heath ward at next year's council elections. - Credit: Bob Perry

A former Conservative councillor whose secret recording sparked a scandal in Havering has decided to take on council leader Damian White in his own ward at next year's council elections.

Bob Perry said he will be going "head-to-head" with Cllr White and will stand as a candidate for Havering's Residents' Associations (HRA).

Cllr Perry has been an independent councillor for Emerson Park ward since resigning from the Conservative group last year.

The Recorder reported in July that he had outed himself as the insider who covertly recorded a private Conservative group meeting last February in which councillors could be heard discussing ways to rearrange borders and populations in a way which would help the Conservatives in future elections.

Cllr White and Havering Council have strongly denied any wrongdoing.

Havering council leader Damian White was secretly recorded earlier this year claiming he had influenced the council's...

Council leader Damian White - Credit: Mark Sepple/Havering Council

Cllr Perry said he felt that Cllr White's leadership of the council is "extremely detrimental" to Havering residents. 

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He said: "He simply has to go.

"I am going to go head-to-head with him in the next election by taking him on in his own ward of Squirrels Heath.

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"I am doing this because I strongly believe that every councillor should, as stated in the council code of conduct, behave with honesty, integrity and transparency. These are qualities I do not believe Cllr White either possesses or understands.

"I realise this is a fight I may well lose but I am prepared to put principle before politics and take that chance."

Cllr White told the Recorder his focus was on providing services that matter most to residents.

“By the next set of local elections, I sincerely hope that Havering has put the pandemic behind it, underscored by a successful vaccination roll out.

"We will continue to support our most vulnerable residents and I will make sure we are in the best place to recover from the worst of the pandemic and take our borough forward in a way which will always put residents first.”

Opposition leader Cllr Ray Morgon said: “The HRA are delighted that Bob Perry is part of our Squirrels Heath team.

"We couldn’t have chosen anyone better to challenge the work of Damian White head on."

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