Meeting to decide on possible probe into Havering Council leader gerrymandering claims adjourned as councillor on panel claims conflict of interest

A meeting to decide whether the leader of Havering Council will be investigated has been postponed after a councillor was excused due to a conflict of interest.

Council leader Cllr Damian White (Con, Squirrels Heath) has been accused of gerrymandering, based on a leaked recording from a private Conservative group meeting in February.

It is alleged the recording proves Cllr White influenced the borough’s proposed electoral boundary changes for political gain.

The panel can rule either that the matter should be investigated further or that the matter be dropped, with no opportunity for appeal.

However, the meeting, scheduled for today (October 1), was adjourned after Cllr Timothy Ryan (Con, Brooklands) was excused on his request.

Cllr Ryan was at the recorded meeting and his presence on the three-councillor panel to decide the matter has been criticised.

He told the committee: “I would like to express a (conflict of) interest of being noted in the transcript and the local newspaper. I would like to excuse myself from this meeting.”

It was agreed that the meeting should therefore be adjourned until an alternative councillor can be found to replace Cllr Ryan on the panel.

The new date of the meeting has yet to be decided.

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter