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Rest assured we’re not couch potato’ councillors—that’s Tim’s Tories!

PUBLISHED: 20:41 17 February 2009 | UPDATED: 14:04 05 October 2010

Dear Ed, REST assured that this Labour authority has no intention of allowing councillors to vote from home (Town Hall Plans Couch Potato politics, Advertiser Website Letters). In time-honoured Tory fashion, Cllr Tim Archer is getting all worked up about something that won’t ever happen at Tower Hamlets

Dear Ed,

REST assured that this Labour authority has no intention of allowing councillors to vote from home (Town Hall plans 'couch potato' politics, Advertiser website letters).

In time-honoured Tory fashion, Cllr Tim Archer is getting all worked up about something that won’t ever happen at Tower Hamlets.

The Government’s Communities in Control consultation paper did propose to allow councillors to take part in meetings remotely. But that was principally to help those who have to travel long distances, for example rural county councils. Tower Hamlets is small enough that travel time should never be an excuse for non-attendance.

The simple truth is that the real couch potatoes’ at the Town Hall are in Tory Tim’s own ranks. From May to November last year, Conservative councillors refused to attend any Town Hall committees or scrutiny panels. This neglect left a long backlog of licensing applications, including some requests for reviews by residents concerned about breaches of licensing conditions by neighbouring pubs and clubs.

Similarly, a number of important planning decisions, including some relating to sites on the Isle of Dogs, where their own constituents were affected, were made in the absence of Conservative councillors. They skived off all the weekly scrutiny sessions, too. The meeting on the council’s Pensions scheme had no Tory councillor present to protect their interests.

But the eight Conservative councillors continued drawing a full allowance throughout those six months, almost £5,000 each. They also get extra money to help with the research for scrutiny work that they are not doing.

In total, Tim’s Tories received almost £50,000 of council taxpayers’ money, while doing virtually nothing for it. I bet they bought a swanky sofa with that!

Cllr Sirajul Islam (Lab)

Deputy Leader

Tower Hamlets Council

Town Hall, Mulberry Place, Blackwall

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