Residents’ Association dissenters defend decision following voters’ criticism

Cllr Clarence Barrett

Cllr Clarence Barrett - Credit: Archant

The dissenting former leader of the Residents’ Association (RA) has defended his new group from a barrage of criticism from residents claiming their votes have been gifted to the Conservatives.

Voters wrote to the Recorder stating their disappointment at last week’s “shameless” splintering of the RA by its former leader Cllr Clarence Barrett and his seven colleagues who have announced they will form a coalition with the ruling Tories.

Residents also wrote on the Recorder’s Facebook page with Alan Fenn typing: “Many of us voted RA in an attempt to rid ourselves of the Tories. What this shameless bunch of charlatans has done is nothing short of disgusting.”

But Cllr Barrett, now heading up the East Havering Residents’ Group (EHRG), said they are still part of the RA and have formed a partnership with the Conservatives to effectively deliver £60million cuts to the borough.

He said: “The EHRG has its own identity, its own constitution, its own independence, does not take the Conservative whip and has in no way become part of the Conservative party.”

Political sources inside Havering suggested Cllr Barrett and two other EHRG members, Cllr Gillian Ford and Cllr Ron Ower, will take cabinet jobs in the council.

Cllr Barrett said he would be “honoured” to take the role of finance chief and would accept the Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA), which currently stands at £32,705, but only if it is reduced to “less than £25,000” following a decision at the October 14 governance committee.

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Sources have also suggested that EHRG’s Cllr Brian Eagling will be Havering’s mayor next year.

In May’s elections voters in the EHRG councillors’ wards made a marked decision to reject the Tories. In Cllr Barret’s Cranham the RA received 74 per cent of the vote whereas the Conservatives received just 7pc.

Meanwhile, EHRG member Cllr Alex Donald said he feels “sorry” for “online trolls” who have created a website labelling the new group Rats (Residents’ Association Traitors).

Read more:

Defecting Havering councillors slammed by new Residents’ Association leader

Havering cabinet: Budget of £60m cuts and tax rises is given thumbs up

Protest to combat Havering’s budget cuts

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