FOLLOWING questions at last week’s full council meeting Thurrock Conservatives are questioning if UKIP are flip flopping on election promises.
The leader of the Thurrock Conservatives, cllr Gledhill said "This Full Council meeting saw the former UKIP leader Cllr Robert Ray cozying up to Thurrock Labour, this time over the management merger with Barking & Dagenham – something he has a record of. However he scored an own goal by forgetting to mention he promoted a leaflet on behalf of UKIP which pledged no to merging with Barking or any council. A fact also ignored by the Labour Leader who congratulated him on not mentioning it during election time"
The leaflet, listing Robert Ray as the promoter and distributed to homes in Aveley late last year, states "no merger with Barking or any other council" as one of UKIP’s pledges. Since then the Council’s Chief Executive and other shared staff have returned to working at Thurrock or are being shared with other Essex Councils as an independent report commissioned by Barking & Dagenham earlier in the year flagged up serious concerns with the arrangement.
Cllr Gledhill added "Part truths seemed to be the order of day on this political point scoring question with references to a document from the Mayor of London office showing areas, like Thurrock, becoming parts of London.
"This was something ‘red’ Ken Livingstone had approached government ministers to do in 2005 and didn’t even offer collegiate talks as the current document says.
However Thurrock Conservatives are clear, we are part of Essex not East London.
Thurrock Council is beginning a process that could eventually lead to a combined authority with Southend, possibly one of the best ways to help improve local authority join working whilst allowing them to retain their own independence.
"If this does become a possibility and it continues to show a long term benefit for Thurrock, then political consensus is vital. So do we have another occasion of UKIP flop flopping from election to election or are they happy to support Thurrock Conservative calls that Thurrock should be leading in Essex not being led by London?"