Redbridge Labour councillor under investigation for allegedly asking for political favours from planning committee
PUBLISHED: 08:00 29 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:28 29 March 2018
An independent investigation has been launched after it was alleged that a Labour councillor flouted regulations in connection with a planning application in Hainault.
Labour’s chief whip, Councillor Roy Emmett, in 2015 wrote to the chairman of the borough’s planning committee about an item that would be heard at a meeting regarding the opening hours of a community centre on New North Road during Ramadan.
In the correspondence, seen by the Recorder, he told the chairman that the applicant had supported Labour candidates in the past and now wanted support from Labour members.
He asked the chairman to “do your best.”
Redbridge Conservative Group is calling for Councillor Emmett to step down from the May local government elections with the group’s leader, Councillor Paul Canal, expressing his dismay at the actions of a senior councillor.
“We believe this is not the first time political pressure has been applied in this way,” he said.
“This behaviour betrays residents, betrays our borough and is unacceptable”
“Confidence in the impartiality of planning decisions is fatally undermined when councillors illegally seek to influence decisions for party political gain. “Any attempt to do so is a blatant breach of local and national guidelines and possibly a criminal offence – this was a deliberate attempt by a senior Labour councillor to improperly influence a planning decision for party political purposes.”
Leader of the council, Councillor Jas Athwal said the allegation has been brought to the council’s attention and both Conservatives and Labour voted for the proposals at the planning meeting.
“I take such matters very seriously and a full investigation by an independent expert is underway, the findings of which will be dealt with in accordance with the council’s arrangements for standards complaints.
“I am not party to these investigations as they are being undertaken by an independent investigator at the request of the monitoring officer, but I am confident that the councillor involved will be cleared.
“There should be a presumption of innocence, but I also hold all councillors to a high standard and take all allegations very seriously.
“Whilst I am supportive of all my councillors, I have never been afraid to take strong action against those who have fallen short.”
Redbridge Labour said that Councillor Emmett could not comment during an ongoing investigation.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ilford Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.