Barking and Dagenham Council leader retaliates after Havering counterpart 'disses' borough
PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 February 2020
A row has erupted between council leaders after one "dissed" Barking and Dagenham on the radio.
Council leader Darren Rodwell launched an attack on his counterpart in Havering following remarks Damian White made in an interview with Mark Dover on Time 107.5.
During the exchange, Mr White was quizzed over his performance at general election when he stood as Conservative candidate for Dagenham and Rainham.
Mr White compared door knocking on the Havering side to the Barking and Dagenham part of the constituency.
He said that it "felt like apartheid" where in Dagenham people were concerned about a "one party state" beacuse of a lack of opposition on the council. The quality of services, waste and the town hall's approach were concerns among constituents.
"In terms of service provision, Havering Council is streets ahead of Barking and Dagenham Council and that came out clearly when knocking on doors," he said.
Mr White explained that following the election - which saw Jon Cruddas beat his Tory rival by just 293 votes - Dagenham and Rainham is now the third most marginal seat in the country due to Labour's "inability to represent people".
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Cllr Rodwell, speaking at a town hall meeting on Wednesday, January 29, responded: "Next time, Damian, you need to say something about Barking and Dagenham say it to the leader's face."
He added: "Remember we are for the many and not the privileged.
"Don't ever tell Barking and Dagenham what it means to run a council for people with real deprivation. I will not take a lesson from any Tory."
In the rest of his leader's statement, Cllr Rodwell defended plans to increase council tax by 4pc but attacked a government fairer funding review which would see the borough lose £3million.
Services are not being cut, but people would be asked to put their hands in their pockets, he said.
He hailed the building of 2,000 "truly affordable" homes and a planned domestic abuse commission.
The borough led a serious crime summit, won a bid to host three London markets and scooped a number of awards, he added.
"If someone in future wants to talk down this borough, they are more than welcome to do it with me on the other end of the microphone," he concluded.
Mr White did not respond to a request for comment.