Below is the text of a letter sent to the Echo newspaper, following the Community Services and Culture Scrutiny meeting of the 29th of January and comments made by Councillor Dr Velmurugan:
I am writing to inform the readers of the Echo that one of their elected representatives has, in an unprovoked tirade, labelled each and every one of them a ‘scrounger’ in a public meeting. I make reference to comments made by Councillor Dr Velmurugan, with the entire Community Services and Culture Scrutiny committee meeting of the 29th of January as my witnesses, and feel it is my duty to inform the public of the sheer contempt that their elected representative regards them with.
(The comments came during a discussion about the proposed management restructure at Southend Borough Council; currently a proposal to amalgamate the positions of Corporate Director for Childrens Services and Corporate Director for Adult and Community Services, following the resignation of Sue Cook, who will be moving to Ipswich. It is understood that the combined role will be held in the interim by Council Officer Simon Leftley, the current Corporate Director for Adult and Community Services, upon Sues departure.)
Councillor Dr Velmurugan, Independent Councillor for Westborough, is best known for his outspoken views, at odds with the full page advertisements that he pays for in the local press (most notably the Yellow Advertiser, where he is often found declaring himself as a ‘Conservatively Minded Truly Independent Independent’ in glorious technicolour.) He made reference to Echo readers specifically, who had commented on an article printed by the newspaper about the management restructure. He dismissed the views of the general public, declaring them all to be ‘scroungers’. A quick glance around the Community Services and Culture Scrutiny committee showed me that I was not the only person horrified by his remarks.
I do not consider this man fit to hold a seat on the Council when he clearly regards the residents of this town and subsequently his ward with such contempt, and ask why he would choose to represent the people of Southend that he regards as such, or why the people of Southend would choose him as their representation.
His desire to win the hearts and minds of local people with money and carefully chosen sentiments could be seriously undermined, if each and every one of his residents and voters in Westborough ward were aware that actually, their elected representative considers them all to be, in his own disgusting and unfounded words, ‘SCROUNGERS’.
I look forward to Dr Velmurugans response, clarification, and apology.”
Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe