Havering’s Democracy and Romford Conservatives

The Romford Conservative gravy train derailed in May, 2022. After 20 years of ruthlessly exploiting the Allowance system, they were booted out. Romford Conservatives really like gravy train politics but are less keen on public service.

In an unprecedented denial of democratic duty, the 18th January Council meeting had no motions for discussion.1 Romford Conservatives were on strike. There were a few questions, only one of which could be regarded as critically important.2 There’s a wealth of experience in their ranks, including councillors who are quite able, which makes this even worse. Their Leader, Damian White, went AWOL for the first three council meetings. In essence, he’s in total denial of the May, 2022 outcome.

The childish anti-democratic sulk continues. In the ten months that HRA/Labour have held office, Romford Conservatives haven’t even filled all their committee places. The council is legally obliged to allocate positions on a pro rata basis. The Places Overview and Scrutiny committee should have four Conservatives. Damian White has filled just two of those places. He’s simultaneously undermining scrutiny and deligitimising democracy. Meanwhile David Taylor spouted off about the need to be, “Not afraid of a late night”, at the Budget Council meeting.3 It would be hilarious if it wasn’t serious.

Romford Conservatives should take a hard look at themselves. They’ve ceased to be a political party.


1 (Public Pack)Agenda Document for Council, 18/01/2023 19:30 (havering.gov.uk)

2 Question 8. There were other questions, which mattered, but this one went to the heart of the performance of a contract  impacting on every tenant of LBH. The answer deserved a debate on its own, which it didn’t get because the Conservatives didn’t put down any motions.

3 Annotator Player (sonicfoundry.com) Go to 30 minutes in

Havering Council: The Budget Meeting: 1st March, 2023

Everyone knows Romford Conservatives are a nest of vipers but usually they attack each other in private. David Taylor’s leadership bid was as subtle as a train crash and Keith Prince repudiated it by voting against Conservative budget propositions.1 HRA’s men wore green ties as a bonding exercise. Seven maiden speeches were an important step towards a more mature council.

Chris Wilkins needs a speechwriter to avoid whining.2 Constant worried glances at the council screens punctuated his flow with pauses. HRA are delusional about lobbying. They expect Havering’s MPs to help. Chris finds Julia Lopez disappointing. Shock horror.

David Taylor praised the HRA/Labour budget, offering minor tweaks.3 His principal point was that his budget proposals showed LEADERSHIP! David is negotiating to be a coalition partner, to replace Labour, but hasn’t cleared it with Keith Prince.

Keith Darvill did a political job. He sees the destruction of Havering’s finances by government under-investment as crippling. He said the entire country is suffering identically. Government policy has reduced growth and national wealth. (0:55)

Martin Goode (1:01) isn’t loved by HRA members who heckled him. Apart from an excellent Captain Mainwaring4 impression, this was a familiar jog-trot through well-known prejudices…  debt, pessimism, conspiracy theories.

General debate – Maiden speeches

Philip Ruck (1:22) He was nervous and a few witty reminisces calmed him down. It was a stellar performance in the circumstances.

Matt Stanton’s (1:32) speech was a tour de force. He surveyed the political and economic scene adding an interesting flair to it.

Mandy Anderson (1:35) spoke of ‘degraded finances’, an interesting phrase. She spoke darkly about finance for the ULEZ challenge.

Kathy Tumilty (1:40) praised Overview and Scrutiny and wondered why the Conservatives hadn’t provided a full roster of members. 

Frankie Walker (1:46) is passionate about statistics and shared this with the meeting. Her statistics damned the government, which  Conservatives didn’t like.

Jane Keane (2:02) upset Michael White who displayed a thin skin for the first time in his life.

James Glass (2:08) praised Conservative councils who are paying for the ULEZ challenge, which means Havering benefits for nothing.

David and Ray Morgon rounded off with banalities.


1 For the webcast, where all the timings refer, go to Annotator Player (sonicfoundry.com) Go to 1 hour 42 m (1:42) for Keith Prince’s announcement. Normally rebellion is punished by loss of the whip but was ‘agreed’  because ex-Leader Michael White joined him.

2 In this case about Westminster council (0:24) For budget detail got to Challenging budget still sees investment in roads, homes, schools, police and free parking | The London Borough Of Havering

3 The proposals for councillor allowances reduces council tax from 4.99% to 4.79% for example.

4 Dad’s Army (TV Series 1968–1977) – Full Cast & Crew – IMDb