Statement: Tory split in Brentwood is now official

December 17, 2012 11:00 PM
Nero fiddled whilst Rome burnt

Nero fiddled whilst Rome burnt

After months of bitter in-fighting, intense speculation and some very public mudslinging, four Tory councillors have resigned from the beleaguered administration in Brentwood.

Although stating that they are still committed Tory party members, they all now sit as independent councillors. This has reduced the Conservative administration to just 21 out of 37 councillors, down from 29 eleven months ago.

Whilst the Tories have reduced by a third, the Liberal Democrats have increased their number to nine in the same time - up by 50%. The election of Cllr Liz Cohen in Shenfield (the "safe" Conservative ward that now has zero Tory councillors) was cited as the final straw for the four defecting councillors.

The three big hitting defectors are Shenfield's Cllr Phil Baker (once Deputy Leader of the Council), Hutton North's Cllr Russell Quirk (Chair of the Asset Panel and the Town Hall Delivery Group) and election strategist Cllr William Lloyd (Warley) as well as Cllr Nigel Clarke (Brentwood West) who has changed alliegiance again having only defected from the Liberal Democrats to the Conservatives in January this year.

Cllr David Kendall, Leader of the opposition and the largest opposition group on the council, said:

"We have watched the Tories fight like ferrets in a sack for the past couple of years and it was only ever a matter of when, not if, this major split was going to happen.

"The Conservatives running Brentwood took their eye off the ball some time ago and are totally out of touch with the people of Brentwood."

Brentwood's Lib Dem Councillors

Brentwood's united Liberal Democrat councillors

"In contrast, the Liberal Democrat group of nine have remained totally united on delivering the very best for residents and have kept on communicating with them and fighting for what's important to them; fighting for the Town Hall, on the state of our roads, saving local parks, fighting to keep disabled parking spaces and holding the administration to account on key issues such as William Hunter Way.

"Residents in areas such as Shenfield have now seen the difference that a good, hardworking Lib Dem councillor like Graeme Clark can make to their town after years of Tory neglect - so much so they elected another one a few days ago - and in Brentwood West, Cllr Karen Chilvers was re-elected to the council after a year away with a considerable majority after residents acknowledged her hard work too.

If you would like to talk about joining a group of hardworking councillors and activists with Brentwood at their heart, please call us for a chat. Cllr Kendall added:

"Brentwood has been burning at the hands of this calamitous, Nero-like, lyre fiddling administration and the Liberal Democrats have been putting out the fires."