Thurrock Tories angry with council boss John Kent over street lights

THE THURROCK Tories have reacted with anger over council leader John Kent’s description of their performance at a committee meeting in Thurrock Council.

Conservative councillor, Tom Kelly has written to YT to set the record straight.

Cllr Kelly said: "Last night’s meeting of overview and scrutiny was an opportunity for councillors to debate the call in on the basis the council and its administration are about to embark on a £6 million venture based on a four paged document presented to Cabinet and councillors by officers. The call in was done after many hours of research and hard work by Cllr Sue Little.

After nearly an hour’s debate it became apparent that there were still many questions to be answered, at which point I tabled a recommendation for the overview and scrutiny committee to be entrusted to undertake a full scrutiny of the plans at a later date.

John Kent claims Councillor Gledhill whispered to Councillor Ray to second my recommendation. However it was clear for all to see Councillor Gledhill was attempting to bring Councillor Ray’s attention to the request of the chair if he understood the importance of my recommendation, at which point I had to again read out for a second time.

Councillor Ray decided that the plans to push forward on the £6million investment based on a four page document were enough to go ahead with the investment and did not second my recommendation. How the leader can attempt to mock UKIP’s Councillor Ray for voting with the Labour Party is beyond me.

If the meeting became a farce it was at the point in which the chair read out my recommendation with a view to support it until Councillor Kent started shaking his head and said no. So just to clarify, that’s the leader of the council encouraging the chair of overview and scrutiny in which direction to vote.

"This is the massive problem with the Labour administration chairing their own overview and scrutiny meeting as they can mark their own homework, and of course the Leader’s intervention being a blatant disregard to the principles of overview and scrutiny.

The leader of the administration criticises the Conservative opposition for delays when we are trying to maximise savings with a planned approach to scrutiny. I hope for the residents’ sake that this investment goes through smoothly.

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