Havering’s Residents Association today write in the Havering Daily.
Havering’s Residents Associations Group Leaders were disgusted to hear the recording of Councillor Damian White, Leader of Havering Council, telling Conservative Group Members about how they were going to manipulate the Ward Boundary Review process. This included trying to pull the wool over the eyes of opposition members, residents and the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.
Councillor Ray Morgon suggested that: “It has been necessary for us to submit complaints to the Chief Executive on a number of occasions about the underhand activities of the Leader, including the sharing of application details to access COVID-19 financial support on the Conservative Facebook page, requesting Members to contact him directly. This was almost a week before details were shared publicly on the Councils website.
“This latest revelation highlights the inability of Cllr Damian White to be honest with the residents of Havering.”
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is a non-political organisation and expects local councils to consider ward boundary changes without the use of politics. But not according to Councillor Damian White, who revealed that Andrew Rosindell MP reviewed the options. No other borough MP had been approached and opposition Councillors were not provided with the full data sets that had been requested on a number of occasions, until almost seven days after the Full Council vote.
Councillor White can be heard telling members about how their option would control give them “political advantage”. The LGBCE core principles *1 rules out recommendations based on such an advantage.
Councillor White suggested their scheme would see fewer residents in the Romford area which would make leaflet distribution easier compared to the other wards. Councillor White also implicated Havering Councils Chief Executive suggesting he had allowed the Leader to influence the proposals.
The H.R.A members confirm that the Conservative Group ensured their own manipulated option was submitted to the Boundary Commission on behalf of the Council, through the restriction and prevention of debate on other options. Opposition members received no support or engagement in the process prior to the Full Council meeting.
Chair of the H.R.A Councillor Gillian Ford said “I really do not know what our residents will think when they hear this news. How can a Council be taken seriously if those in command, deceive residents and con them out of a true democratic process? How can our Leader Councillor Damian White put himself on a soap box, when he has blatantly tried to gerrymander the future make-up of Havering?”
THE ‘LEADER’ SHOULD RESIGN
Councillor Ray Morgon went on to say that “As a result of this latest finding, it is clear that Councillor Damian White is not fit to hold the office of Leader of the Council and should step down with immediate effect”.