Anger over one-party roadshows

April 27, 2009 12:00 AM
In Brentwood Weekly News

A POLITICAL row has broken out over a series of meet-and-greet roadshows being held by Brentwood Council.

The council's Liberal Democrat group claims opposition councillors have been left out of the roadshows - where residents meet council leaders and committee chairmen - as only Tory councillors will be there.

But the Tory group said the workshops are only for selected leading councillors and are not politically motivated.

The exact details of the roadshows have not been finalised, with the first one due to take place at the end of October.

Cllr David Kendall, Lib Dem leader, questioned council leader Louise McKinlay's decision to only take Tory councillors on the trips around the borough.

He said: "The Conservatives would do well to remember they received less than half the votes cast in the most recent elections and more than half of voters supported other parties.

"Brentwood Council is made up of the three major parties and an independent member, all voted for by our residents, and I feel they deserve to hear from all those who represent them.

"This rather looks like a Conservative party election campaign financed with council taxpayers' money."

Cllr McKinlay hit back, saying the roadshows were for her and the council chairmen to explain their decisions and plans for the borough to residents.

She added: "It's not a free-for-all for any people in our group to come along.

"These events are not party political.

"This is about bringing councillors directly to residents and make it easier for them to put their views forward."

An event where residents can meet leaders of all the council's political parties is set for later this year.