By Luke Spillman
Leader of the Thurrock Independent Group
THIS week’s events have been a true low point in the history of Thurrock Council. We are at a point where we need to question whether it is tenable for the Conservatives to continue running the Thurrock Council?
In refusing to put the Local Plan issues and options paper to Full Council, despite absolute assurances from both opposition groups that it is guaranteed to pass, the Conservative Administration have critically damaged the borough’s opposition to the Lower Thames Crossing proposals.
The Tory cabinet are playing the political equivalent of Russian Roulette among themselves with all the chambers loaded. They are threatening to blow up their own administration unless opposition groups concede to fully support a paper that hasn’t even been published and not a single councillor, other than the group leaders has even read. Even the Opposition group leaders have only seen a pre-draft version.
These events would be even more astonishing if such a breakdown hadn’t happened before. The last time the Conservatives ran Thurrock they imploded in a similarly spectacular fashion. Government intervention was required to drag the Council back from the abyss.
There is precious little time for the embarrassing Tory u-turn that is required to save the reputation of Thurrock Council. Although I fear it may be too late to save the reputation of this Conservative administration. They have fundamentally undermined senior officers, acted against the interests of the borough and have shown themselves to be entirely unfit for office. We have now almost reached the point where it is untenable that the leader of the council and the portfolio holder for regeneration can continue in their roles.
The clock is ticking for the Tories to salvage what is left of their reputation. The Thurrock Independents have guaranteed that we will abstain at this stage of the Local Plan, due to expert legal advice that this stage is absolutely critical to the Council’s opposition to current Lower Thames Crossing proposals. This in itself will guarantee that the Local Plan Issues abs options paper passes.
However, we will never vote for a Local Plan administered by a Conservative Party which accepts such large donations from property and building related firms. Our party came into being to offer residents a new, better politics for all. We will not sit back and fail to challenge such a deplorable conflict of interest at the heart of Thurrock Council.