Elm Park councillor defects from Residents’ Group to join Havering Council’s Conservative group

Sally Miller of Havering Streetwatch

Sally Miller of Havering Streetwatch - Credit: Archant

An Elm Park councillor has defected from the Hornchurch Residents’ Association to join the borough’s Conservative group at Havering Town Hall.

Councillor Sally Miller is now shown on the Havering Council website as a Conservative member.

Havering Council and Conservative group leader Cllr Damian White told the Recorder: "We're all very pleased that Sally has decided to join the Conservatives.

"She has been very impressed with the work of the current Conservative administration in putting residents first and getting the best for the borough."

When contacted by the Recorder, Cllr Miller declined to comment.

At the last council election in May 2018, Cllr Miller was elected as the third Hornchurch Residents' Association candidate for Elm Park, earning 2,012 votes.

Her fellow Elm Park HRA candidates Cllr Barry Mugglestone and Cllr Stephanie Nunn earned 2,160 votes and 2,079 votes respectively.

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The nearest Conservative candidate came in fifth with 756 votes, behind a Labour candidate in fourth.

Cllr Miller's defection sees Conservative ranks swell to 26 councillors, two short of the 28 which would be required to hold a majority in the 54-seat council chamber.

Councillor Ray Morgon, leader of the Residents' Group, told the Recorder he had been expecting Cllr Miller's defection.

He said: "I'm not surprised but I am disappointed.

"She resigned from our group on Thursday and told us she planned to sit as an independent councillor.

"She also told us she had been for a meeting with [Havering Council's Conservative leader] Damian White, which obviously seemed a bit unusual to us - if the leader of the council is going to invite anyone in for a talk surely it should be the group leaders?

"I know Sally has done some really good work with Streetwatch in Hornchurch and is very interested in policing and crime. If I were a betting man I'd say she'll be named as a chair or deputy chair of the crime and disorder sub-committee."

It is not the first time the current cohort of councillors have seen a defection from a residents' group to the Conservatives.

Immediately following the 2018 local elections, Cllr Michael Deon Burton announced he was defecting from the Independent Residents' Group.

He was elected in South Hornchurch with almost twice as many votes as the nearest Conservative candidate, but at the first post-election meeting of the council revealed he had joined the borough's Tories - he was named deputy mayor of Havering at the same meeting.

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