Romford Tory rift sparks huge council chamber row

�The Romford Tory rift has spilled out into the council chamber with a row over the appointment of committee chairmen.

Conservative and Residents’ Association councillors clashed at Wednesday’s annual council meeting over claims that experienced chairmen were being dumped in favour of younger councillors championed by Romford MP Andrew Rosindell.

Cllr Barbara Matthews, of the Residents Association, said: “We have all heard about the rift in the Conservatives and it has had no affect on us. But now it is encroaching on our business.

“As a result, we have had a change of chairs on three important committees where experienced and knowledgeable people are being made to give way for inexperienced people.”

The disagreement followed nominations by the Conservatives to replace Cllr Ted Eden as chairman of the crime and disorder committee with Cllr Osman Dervish.

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There was also a move to replace Cllr Fred Osborne as chairman of the Towns and Communities Overview and Scrutiny committee with Cllr Damian White. And Cllr Gary Pain has been elected as the new chairman of the highways advisory committee instead of Cllr Billy Taylor. But Cllr Matthews said that the positions should be given to people with experience and not to councillors who had never served on the committees.

“This is a time when the chairmen are having to balance increasing demand from the public and decreasing funds,” she said.

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“As I see it, their reward for loyalty is being given with chairmanships with large allowances being paid for by the taxpayer.”

But council leader Cllr Michael White argued that the three councillors were ready for the roles.

The meeting ended in humour, however, after RA leader Cllr Clarence Barrett said he had two years’ experience before taking leadership and had taken on many different roles. To which some councillors shouted that he had “ham”, “bacon” and “cheese” in his roles.

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