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Chaos at Havering Council meeting after Cllr Jeffrey Tucker race comments raised

PUBLISHED: 00:34 28 November 2013 | UPDATED: 13:16 28 November 2013

Cllr Tucker claims his comments were misunderstood

Cllr Tucker claims his comments were misunderstood

Archant

A Havering Council meeting last night descended into chaos as members attempted to discuss a motion for Cllr Jeffrey Tucker to apologise for "disturbing" remarks about white and non-white Newham and Havering officers working together.

Speaking to the Romford Recorder last week, Cllr Tucker said white council officers would find it “awkward and uncomfortable” to work with non-white colleagues if the merger of some office services with Newham went ahead.

“I think it’s a terrible idea,” he said. “I can’t see the two councils being able to work together.

“We’ve got 95 per cent white English workers in Havering Council and Newham Council is 95pc not white English.

“It would be like putting two football teams together – an African team and an English team – and saying: ‘Get on and work together’.”

The council approved the merger of back-room services tonight at the meeting in Havering Town Hall, Main Road, Romford, shortly before the agenda item moving for Cllr Tucker to withdraw his statement.

But the motion, also calling on Cllr Tucker to “unreservedly apologise” to staff and the community, never came to a vote after he evaded questions.

In heated scenes, Cllr Tucker said: “I’m waiting for the legal officer to supply me what I said.”

Amid shouting and confusion in the chamber, he later said: “If the Recorder said I said that I’m not going to deny the issue.

“[…] I didn’t say it in that context.”

Cllr Roger Evans, London Assembly member for Havering and Redbridge, said he had a lot of comments from staff about the remarks.

The Mayor, Cllr Eric Munday, abandoned the meeting as it descended into confusion and the motion did not come to a vote.

Independent Residents’ Group leader Cllr Tucker has represented Rainham and Wennington since 2002 and in 2010 won his seat by the biggest majority in the borough.

Havering Council leader Cllr Michael White has condemned Cllr Tucker’s comments, calling them “disturbing”, and referred him to the standards board.

Cllr White also said he would speak to the Mayor of Newham to “assure him that Cllr Tucker’s views are in no way representative of the staff or elected members of Havering Council”.

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