Havering Residents Association councillors today write in the Havering Daily on the issue of the Independent Harold Wood Councillors.
Back in 2018 some of the Residents Associations in Havering formally agreed to work together in the best interest of the residents of Havering. The H.R.A – Havering’s Residents Associations had started!
However that didn’t include the Harold Wood Councillors, because despite badging themselves as Residents Association, The Harold Wood North Havering Residents Group, aligned themselves with the Conservatives on the night of the 2018 election. As part of the deal they received Special Responsibility allowances and in turn, they vote in line with the Conservative Group. They have now registered the names Hornchurch and Upminster Independents for: Cranham, Elm Park, Hacton, South Hornchurch, St Andrew’s, Upminster, Emerson Park, St George’s and Beam Park.
Councillor Ray Morgon Leader of Havering Councils main opposition said “Harold Wood Councillors were elected under the name of Residents Association when in fact they are Conservatives. Rather than registering group names with the Electoral Commission under the disguise of Independents, they need to hold their heads in shame as they are Conservatives hiding behind a screen. The public will see them for what they are come the 2022 local elections”.
Councillor Graham Williamson went on to say, “It is only right that when somebody puts themselves forward for election, they are honest and open about their intentions. This was clearly not the case in Harold Wood, with Councillor Sally Miller and Councillor Dion Burton. It also goes to show what lengths some Members will go to get an allowance, and in this instance the levels the Conservatives will stoop to, for power.”
In response to this, the Harold Wood Councillors have said the following:
Why do the HRAs keep having a dig at Harold Wood, Hill, Park Residents’ Association Councillors? We like to act in a professional manner as possible but we now feel you should hear our side of the story and let you know some facts.
In 2014 – 2018, led by the late leader of the Upminster and Cranham Residents Association a coalition was formed with the Conservatives and they were rewarded very nicely with three chair positions, two cabinet posts and also one of them became the Mayor.
The HRAs have only been reformed since 2018 as previously the other RA members did not wish to join them because they felt it was a waste of time – how things have changed.
The Harold Wood Hill Park Residents’ Association was not invited prior to the 2018 election to join or be part of HRAs’ plans for the future. After the election results in 2018, and having successfully regained our three seats, we were approached by them to see if we would join them. As they had not included us in their plans and had gone behind our backs, we decided we did not wish to be part of them, especially when it came to light that certain members were to be part of their group and we were unhappy with these members’ politics and what they stood for. They were also not supportive of the Harold Wood area and therefore we felt we had to remain as part of a separate group.
In fact Councillor Ray Morgan actually stood for the Conservatives and was a Cabinet Member and crossed the floor letting down the people who had voted for him so HRAs are wrong to criticise other Councillors when he has acted in a similar manner and especially as we in Harold Wood have not joined any other party or group. It should be noted that None of the Harold Wood Councillors are members of any National Parties unlike some in the HRA.
The leader of the HRA seems to highlight our present situation but she has a very short memory as she benefited very well financially from joining the Tory/RA coalition administration 2014 – 2018 by becoming Chairperson of Children and Lifelong learning and also Chair of the Board.
At present 2 of the Cranham Councillors are members of the LGA and are rewarded financially. The LGA are funded by the London Borough of Havering.
Just to summarise we the HWHP Residents’ Association have not formed a coalition with the Conservatives and only support when it is appropriate to do so and if this helps our ward residents we feel this is the right thing to do.
May I suggest that HRAs Councillors spend more time working in their wards, which is what they were elected to do Instead of putting out press releases which knock their fellow Councillors. Isn’t it rather hypocritical to criticise others when you have done exactly the same yourselves?
The HRA should also consider that by making continuous vitriolic comments towards other Councillors and Associations at this current time when the country and borough is facing a crisis is both unhelpful and disgraceful and rather than be negative they should be holding out their hand in reconciliation though after their actions the question remains why would anyone want to associated with the HRA?
In response to comments made by Harold Wood Councillors, Ray Morgon said,
“There are a number of issues that need some clarification and correction.
Harold Wood Councillors were invited to join other elected Residents Association Councillors to form an Administration, but clearly, they had already agreed to join with the Conservatives. As Council records show they have consistently refused to vote against them since May 2018 and not just, in their words, when appropriate to do so. In their election literature, they asked residents to vote for them to ensure that a national party would not be in charge. Voters were duped by these Councillors because their actions have meant that we have a Conservative Party in charge.
I did stand as a Conservative and left the party in late 2005. It is on record that I left because I was unhappy with the things that I saw going on within the party and felt that I could no longer in all consciousness be part of that group. My decision meant that I lost my Special Responsibility Allowance being a Cabinet Member, but I place principles above financial reward. Not something that you can say about the three Harold Wood Councillors.
“Every Councillor in Havering is a Member and part of the LGA, an organisation that is there to represent the interests of local authorities, lobbying government for additional resources and acting as the voice of local authorities with government and partner agencies. Some members like those in Harold Wood, choose not to engage in the wider issues of local governance”.