THURROCK Council leader, John Kent has reacted with anger at the Tory questioning of his attendance of the Local Enterprise Partnership Meetings.
Councillor Kent said:” Despite the fact that the South East Local Enterprise Partnership meets in Thurrock neither Cllr Anderson or any other Thurrock Conservative has attended a single meeting nor shown the slightest interest in the workings of the LEP until this latest slur.
“All council leaders have competing calls on their time – that is why alternates are allowed to attend LEP meetings in their place and all County and Unitary leaders take advantage of this. A look at the attendance records of the LEP shows that it is just plain wrong to claim that I “rarely attend.”
“We are fortunate in Thurrock that we have Andy Smith – himself a former leader of this council – as the Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and my alternate for any LEP meetings I am unable to attend.
“The difference between Thurrock’s Labour cabinet members and many of Cllr Anderson’s shadow colleagues is that Labour members can be relied upon to understand their portfolios.
“We all remember that for the whole time Cllr Anderson’s party controlled the council, and ran the cabinet, the cast majority of portfolio holders made it clear – on a monthly basis – they didn’t have a clue what was happening in their own portfolios. That’s why they had to ask so many embarrassing questions in public.
“What Cllr Anderson also fails to understand or acknowledge is how much of the SELEP discussions go on behind the scenes in telephone calls and one–to–one meetings. Often attending the meeting and speaking to the agenda, as one of among more than forty members, is the final step in a lengthy process.
“For absolute clarity, nobody at the LEP or among our SELEP partners is in the slightest doubt about where Thurrock stands on this issue – or any other. They are fully aware and equally, we know what our partners think too – that’s the way the “top table” works.