Councillor Bob Perry resigns from Conservative party over ‘culture of fear’
Havering councillor Bob Perry said a “culture of fear” and “bullying” led him to resign from the borough’s Conservative group.
Before the budget council meeting on Wednesday, February 26, Bob Perry announced he was resigning from the Conservative whip.
Cllr Perry, who represents Emerson Park ward, said the controversy around Havering's changes to car parking charges had been one of the main reasons for his decision to resign.
He said: "Abolishing the free 30 minutes' parking has crippled our local businesses.
"Numerous shops have been forced to close since its introduction."
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Cllr Perry said the council had acted in direct opposition to businesses in the high streets by removing 30 minutes' free parking in Hornchurch and Upminster last year.
"Damian White is an unpleasant bully who has created a culture of fear in the town hall," he added.
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"I have spent decades working tirelessly for the Conservative Party but I cannot remain part of a political party blighted by institutional bullying.
"I urge Conservative councillors to consider whether they want to continue propping up the destructive regime of Damian White or whether they want to do what is in the best interests of the residents of Havering and select a new leader who actually cares about people, or follow my lead and resign the Conservative whip."
Cllr Perry said he lodged a complaint with the chairman of the Conservative party over "bullying and dictatorial behaviour" but was told to instead contact the complaints department at Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ).
CCHQ then told him it was a matter for the Conservative group.
Leader of the council, cllr Damian White said: "The Conservative party has a very robust internal complaints process.
"If anyone would like to make a complaint they can use this process to ensure an objective manner informs the long-held standing process.
"Cllr Perry chose not to use these mechanisms.
"He has decided to leave the Conservative group and I wish him the best on his new course of action."
Cllr Perry will continue to serve the rest of his term as an independent councillor in the Emerson Park ward until the 2022 council elections.