MAVERICK INDEPENDENT Councillor Ric Morgan apologised to his residents and outraged the Council as he stormed out of the budget meeting and refused to vote on the proposals.
Damning the Conservatives budget proposals as “a stain and a betrayal”, Ric Morgan, who left the Liberal Democrat group last year to join the Liberal Party shortly after his re-election as a councillor in Prittlewell ward, appeared to be resigning from his role as a Councillor as he left the chamber.
He said: “Under this budget, the Conservatives can do what the hell they like, as it is so unspecific. I would like to apologise to the residents of Prittlewell that I have been a part of this for the past five years, but I cannot be a part of it any longer.”
He later clarified his remarks, stating that he had not resigned as a councillor but simply did not want to vote on the budget proposals, which he called “an insult to the hard working Council officers and residents of our town.”
“To vote for or against this document gives credence to something I believe to be spurious. The opposition leaders have been sucked in to this absurd thing, and I am amazed that they can produce a response at all to the insufficient detail, things that have been hidden.
“This budget proposal is composed not to inform and explain but to confuse and conceal. The people of Southend may wish to ask why an efficient and democratic council would seek to do that. I am amazed that there should be a proposition in this budget to raise Council tax, when the people of Southend should have a discount card for the pier for keeping it open at all!”
At the close of the Council meeting, Councillors voted on changes to committees and working parties, as a result of independent councillor Dr Velmurugans resignation from the Independent group last year.
Leader of the council, Conservative Nigel Holdcroft suggested that Dr Velmurugan be elected to sit on the hospital committee board in place of Ric Morgan, who he described as “not fit to represent this Council anywhere.”
Nigel added: “Councillor Morgan’s behaviour is simply bizarre. As each year passes the level of budget information provided to members has improved as has the level of consultation, scrutiny and access to senior officers. He makes little if any effort to engage in the process and then having made a wholly inaccurate and pointless contribution during the budget debate storms from the chamber without participating in the final votes. I struggle to see how he feels this is adequately representing the residents who have voted him in and would suggest that he should give serious consideration to his position.”
Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published Southend Echo, 4th March 2013.