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New Redbridge Conservative leader on Cllr Keith Prince, Wes Streeting and Tory hopes

07:00 30 May 2014

Cllr Paul Canal

Cllr Paul Canal

Archant

Paul Canal, the new leader of the Redbridge Conservatives, has called for his team to work “doubly hard for residents” to hold Labour to account.

The Bridge ward councillor was elected Tory leader at the AGM after Labour completed resounding victory in last week’s local elections – a first-ever majority win for the Redbridge group.

Speaking to the Recorder yesterday [Weds], Cllr Canal praised departing leader Cllr Keith Prince, issued a rallying cry for his team to succeed for the residents and criticised Labour’s Ilford North candidate Wes Streeting.

He said: “Labour did not win the election - I still believe our message was the stronger message.

“I respect our residents – we need to work doubly hard for them.”

Cllr Canal wished Redbridge Labour leader Jas Athwal well before adding concerns over the impact four years of Labour rule could have on the borough.

“I am very concerned we will go down the same route as Waltham Forest and Barking and Dagenham,” he added. “That is why we will hold them to account.

“My motivation is to leave Redbridge in a better place than I found it.”

Asked if he had any words for Cllr Prince, Barkingside ward councillor, Canal said: “Keith Prince is a highly experienced councillor - we have a huge mutual respect for each other. He had a tremendous work ethic and he had great dedication.”

The pair were embroiled in controversy before the election after Cllr Canal tweeted of his intention to run against Cllr Prince for Tory leader.

On May 8, he tweeted: “We are at the boiling point of iron. Far too close to call. Running against Keith [Prince] will be fun!” The tweet was later deleted.

Cllr Prince made fun of the tweet yesterday [Weds], when asked if he had words for Cllr Canal, he said: “Advice for Paul Canal? Do not trust people who tweet,” before adding: “Just do the best you can and be honest and make decisions for the right reasons and not for your own personal gain.”

Cllr Canal focused his attention on Redbridge deputy Labour leader Wes Streeting, too.

Cllr Streeting is vying to be elected as Ilford North MP in the general election next year, but Cllr Canal said: “Wes Streeting is standing as an MP and is a Redbridge councillor for less than 12 months. I think that is shocking.”

Meanwhile, the Tories also elected a new deputy leader, Cllr Robert Cole, a ward councillor for Clayhall.

Two other new councillors took up key roles within the group - Cllr Tom McClaren (Church End) as chief whip and Cllr Colin Cronin as group treasurer.

Cllr Joyce Ryan was unanimously re-elected as group secretary.

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