Landslide victory for Tory youngsters in leadership bid
PUBLISHED: 15:37 29 March 2012
»Romford Tories have thrown their overwhelming support behind a new generation of leaders – sending its old guard packing.
The top three posts at the town’s Conservative Association are now held by those in their 20s.
The move follows a bitter battle for supremacy between those backing a younger management and those desperate to keep the status quo.
But there have been murmurs of underhand tactics – with claims that the winners drafted in a legion of new members to block vote.
More than 500 people turned out last Friday night for the vote.
Ninety per cent chose Cllr Osman Dervish’s youthful “Team ’12” over a field of old school candidates – headed up by a former chairman and ex-councillor Alby Tebbutt.
“It was so embarrassing for them – they refused to announce the winning margin,” one prominent Tory, who asked not to be named, told the Recorder.
But Mr Tebbutt deemed the vote “undemocratic”.
“They went out and signed up all these new people,” he said. “We hardly recognised anyone there – that’s hardly fair. But I shook their hands and wished them well.”
Mr Tebbutt said that the association’s priority was now to stand together behind Boris Johnson’s Mayoral campaign.
But he will be keeping an eye on his young usurpers.
“We are all still there,” he said. “Just because we’re not in control doesn’t mean we’ve become extinct.
“I’ve still got at least another 10 years ahead of me. If they mess up, I’ll come at them with an opposition so strong they won’t know what’s hit them.”
Last week, the Recorder reported the war of words between the factions in the run-up to the ballot.
But new chairman Cllr Dervish said that his win would pave the way for a strong, cohesive association.
“The results are positive and speak for themselves – we are a group united not divided,” he said.
“We have a young leadership full of energy, who are ready to do the hard work.But we also have a good mix of people of all ages.
“Alby is very good at certain things but their way of working involves a very small amount of effort.
“We’re a breath of fresh air. It’s good to have new people with new ideas otherwise it’s the same people going around in a wheel.”
Romford’s Tory MP Andrew Rosindell threw his weight behind Team ’12.
He was welcomed back into the association’s Western Road headquarters this week after the previous management cancelled his office lease there.
He said: “I wish Alby well in the future but he does not represent the future of the organisation. We have made a shift in a new direction.”
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