Tories gag opposition in revenge campaign

In a blatant act of  revenge, Lord Hanningfield and the Conservative administration group at Essex County Council have today (5 August) voted to cut off the only opposition group’s one full time support staff in a bid to gag the opposition.  The Conservative group itself will continue to employ 13 full time staff to support its own Administration group and will also continue to accept Special Responsibility Allowances totaling around £600,000 on top of their normal councillor allowances, all at the taxpayers’ expense.  The move came when the administration decided to make political staff to the Liberal Democrat and Conservative group redundant.

Speaking about the decision, Lib Dem group leader Cllr Tom Smith-Hughes said: “Only recently, Lord Hanningfield was complaining to the national press that a “vindictive campaign” had been launched against him by a Liberal Democrat MP.  This was in response to the news that Scotland Yard had decided to investigate Lord Hanningfield’s House of Lords expenses.  It can hardly be a coincidence that a short time later the Lib Dem group has been thrown off the council’s Waste Advisory Board and is now having its only full time staff member made redundant.

“Given the already outrageous number of full time employees dedicated to working for the Administration group, it is clear that this Tory group’s main preoccupation is with occupying power and then cutting down the opportunities for anyone to question them.  It appears there are shades of North Korea in Essex Conservatives’ style of governance, rather than the bright new Conservative image peddled by David Cameron.”

Tories plough more cash into troubled Banking on Essex project

Essex taxpayers are being asked to cough up another £200,000 to fund ‘research’ into the Conservative county council’s Banking on Essex project, despite significant sums of money and hundreds of hours of council staff time already invested in the scheme.

Speaking about the decision, Cllr David Kendall, Liberal Democrat spokesman said: “Only a couple of weeks ago my group raised concerns about the council’s about turn on lending criteria after only a few weeks of the start of the project.  We were told that this was on advice from Santander the bank operating the project.  Why the council had not checked appropriate lending criteria with Santander before launching the project remains a mystery.

“The increasingly haphazard fashion in which this project is being managed, accompanied by increasingly significant amounts of taxpayers’ money being ploughed into it, is starting to ring alarm bells.”

The Liberal Democrats have called in this decision which will be discussed at the council’s scrutiny meeting in September.