Leader of Havering Council Michael White criticised for not attending meeting

The Leader of Havering Council has been accused of “pulling a sickie” for not attending the Ask the Cabinet public forum but then turning up for the Cabinet Meeting minutes later.

Michael White was critisiced for his absence from the Ask the Cabinet meeting at 6.30pm last Wednesday February 8.

Resident Lorraine Moss said: “I just couldn’t belive it.

“He totally snubbed the residents and it was like a naughty school boy playing truant.”

The 45 minute meeting included an apology of absence for Cllr White and he was substituted by Deputy Leader of the Council Cllr Stephen Kelly.

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On the panel was also Cabinet Member for value Cllr Roger Ramsey and Cabinet Member for Community Cllr Robert Benham.

But residents say that they were shocked afterwards to see Cllr White turning up for the meeting jut minutes later.

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Lorraine said: “People made an effort to attend the meeting and it was not the nicest of weather.

“To see Michael White sitting there was totally unacceptable and it was a total snub to the residents.”

She added: “I would have had more respect for him if he had turned up and explained himself but instead he chose the Cabinet over the residents.”

Cllr White defended his actions and said that in hindsight he would have stayed away from both meetings.

He said: “I had been sick with the flu for three days and I could have stayed at home but we were setting the budget and it is the most important thing that we do as a council.

“That is the resason that I have a deputy and Cllr Kelly did a fantastic job and he answered all the questions.

“In the past I have been told that I am monopolising the meetings and here I have given other Cabinet members a chance, but it seems that I can’t win.”

The Ask the Cabinet meetings replaced the Area Committee Meetings and sees residents putting their questions to Havering Council Cabinet Members.

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