Monday, May 27, 2024

Thurrock Labour leader calls for all-out elections

A CALL has been made by the leader of Thurrock Council’s Labour group for all council seats in the borough to come up for re-election later this year. 

The council is gripped by a huge financial crisis and needs to borrow hundreds of millions of pounds to survive but the legacy of the current administration will be cuts to services for decades. 

The Labour opposition leader Cllr John Kent, says his group will work with the Tories to “salvage what is salvageable” but said there was a “really strong case” for an election of every council seat in May.

Speaking in the wake of a damning interim report on the council’s cash and management crisis Cllr Kent said: “If this interim report is anything to go by, we are going to have a judgement that there was a complete failure of political and managerial leadership.

“That means there needs to be an absolute clear out. It means that those Conservatives who have been running the council for the last seven years can have no role in the future.”

The government is expected to decide on the next steps for Thurrock by 7 February and Essex County Council is due to submit its best value report – containing criticisms and recommendations for Thurrock – to Westminster by 17 February.

Council leader, Conservative Cllr Mark Coxshall, has conceded there was “a poor culture” at the council.

Speaking at a full council meeting last week he said: “I was horrified to learn from this report that our accountability structures do not appear to be lawful.

“Process and record-keeping provide an audit trail for accountability, which is absent here in Thurrock.”

He added that weaknesses were not limited to the Conservatives.

He said dealing with some council senior management had previously been like “hitting a brick wall” and said he believed a “sea change” in how politicians and officers work with one another was needed.

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