Havering Mayor hits out over Remembrance Day parade ‘hijacking’ by Romford MP, Conservative Association
- Credit: Archant
Havering’s mayor has accused his own party of using a Remembrance Sunday parade for political reasons, after ejecting a group invited by MP Andrew Rosindell from the official mayoral procession – twice.
The guests, members of the Romford Conservative Association’s Conservative Commonwealth Association, had been asked to join the mayoral group on its march from the town hall to the Coronation Gardens war memorial.
But Cllr Eric Munday, Mayor of Havering, asked them to leave as the procession was only for elected representatives and council staff.
He alleged Cllr Damian White (Tory, Hylands) had then started “acting like a border collie” and “shepherding the strays back into the procession”.
Cllr White denies he was involved - and added he had been in the nearby remembrance gardens when he was alleged to have been “shepherding”.
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“Because of the inclement weather I decided to take [...] shelter, because it was raining and wet,” he said.
When the Recorder put it to him there had been no rain in Romford on Sunday, he said: “I have very sensitive eyes and it was incredibly bright so I tried to stay away from the light.
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“It was wet underfoot from the previous day’s rain so I thought I’d stand in a relative dry patch by the trees and in the shadow away from the sun.”
He added: “The only people there from the Conservative association were councillors.
“I don’t recall anyone not entitled to be in the procession outside the town hall, and don’t recall any conversations relating to it.”
Cllr Munday said he first noticed the group during a town hall reception before the parade formed – and explained they wouldn’t be allowed to take part.
“They accepted what I said,” he said, “but then [Cllr Damian White] rounded them up and pushed them back into the procession.
“So the assistant chief executive went down the line and told them they couldn’t continue.
“It wasn’t a very pleasant episode. Of course I was annoyed – it’s not what you should expect.”
Eyewitness Ian James confirmed Cllr Munday had asked a council official to eject the group.
One guest, who asked not to be named, confirmed he and about 10 other people were asked to stand back from the queue.
“We’d been invited by Andrew Rosindell,” he added. “I know other people were there who were in the [Commonwealth Association], and they’re a bit upset.”
Mr Rosindell had not responded to requests for comment as the Recorder went to press.