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Redbridge Tory councillor: ‘If we do not change we will not get back into power’

PUBLISHED: 18:00 23 March 2015 | UPDATED: 13:02 24 March 2015

Cllr Robert Cole, the now former deputy leader of the Redbridge Conservative Group

Cllr Robert Cole, the now former deputy leader of the Redbridge Conservative Group

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A senior Tory councillor has issued a stark warning to his party after being replaced as deputy leader by the toss of a coin.

Cllr Robert Cole (Clayhall) was replaced by Cllr Michelle Dunn (Wanstead) at the Redbridge Conservative Group’s AGM earlier this month.

Cllr Dunn chose not to put herself forward to be deputy leader of the opposition last year following the Tories’ defeat in the local elections.

However a little less than 12 months on and Cllr Dunn decided to throw her hat into the ring.

Speaking to the Recorder, Cllr Cole said his fate was sealed by a coin toss after an initial vote resulted in a tie.

“Yes, I was disappointed,” he said. “It has been a steep learning curve to get into the mind set of being in opposition.

“If we do not change we will not get back into power.”

Cllr Cole said the past year has thrown up “some disagreements” within the party to try and work out the best way forward.

“I feel that we have got a bit of a mixture – with some people looking forward and some looking backwards,” he said, before adding: “There were some differences in opinion.

“It has been more of a case who would be effective in holding the Labour-led council to account.”

Cllr Cole also failed to rule out the possibility Cllr Paul Canal, the Tory leader, facing opposition at the AGM in 2016.

“There is always a chance – but I hope not,” he said. “There have been rumblings but I just hope we move forward.

“He has got good ideas and he speaks very well.

“He is not a walk over which makes a difference.”

A new, younger generation of councillors within the Tory group has filled Cllr Cole with hope.

“I just hope we can get the likes of Cllr Emma Best (Church End) and Cllr Sarah Blaber (Roding) to the fore,” he added.


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