Tory forced to apologise over ‘distasteful’ Grinch picture

The Grinch is a Dr Seuss character famed for hating Christmas

The Grinch is a Dr Seuss character famed for hating Christmas - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

A councillor will be forced to make a public apology after posting a photo of an opposition member as The Grinch on Facebook in a row over a Christmas tree.

The clash emerged after funding for a Christmas tree and lights in Wanstead was cut when Redbridge Council controversially axed area committees, which had previously funded the decorations.

Last October, as the Labour administration came under fire, Conservative councillors launched a crowdfunding appeal to pay for the tree.

But a report due to go before the council’s standards committee on Wednesday reveals just how little festive cheer there was.

A complaint was lodged against Cllr Colin Cronin, a Snaresbrook Tory councillor, by Cllr Sheila Bain, a Wanstead Labour councillor, over “disrespectful” online posts.

The document said Cllr Cronin had breached parts three and five of the council’s code of conduct – to “treat others with respect” and not bring the council into “disrepute”.

According to the report, Cllr Cronin was accused of posting a “derogatory poem” about Cllr Bain on the Crowdfunder website, a “distasteful image depicting her as a Grinch” on the Love Wanstead Facebook page and accused her of “politics by deception” on the website Wansteadium after she correctly asserted the council had offered £750 to go towards the tree.

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While the sub-committee did not want to refer the case for a full investigation, it agreed to refer it to the monitoring officer to ensure Cllr Cronin issued a personal apology to Cllr Bain.

It also ordered Cllr Cronin to issue an apology on the Love Wanstead Facebook page and receive extra training on the code of conduct.

Cllr Bain declined to comment and Cllr Cronin had not yet responded to the Recorder’s attempts to contact him at the time of going to press.

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