The Full Swanley Town Council Meeting on Wednesday 8th June revealed the Tories in disarray. Labour Party members & supporters were there in numbers to show solidarity with their councillors who were supposedly facing disciplinary measures. This was because Swanley & District Labour Party would not take down key pages on their website.
The threats to suspend a Labour Councillor proved to be empty and the Tory Council reported that there could be no suspension of elected councillors.
Instead, it turns out that Councillor Tony Searles has stepped down as the Leader of Swanley Town Council because he is facing allegations of sexual harassment from an employee. He is also hitting the headlines for other reasons.
It does not stop there! Councillor Jim Halford has resigned from the Tories. He refused to sit around the council table and instead sat in the corner of the room, feet on a chair.
He stated during the meeting: “I do hate Tony Searles’ guts.” He went on to say “I will explain to people…I have to be honest.” He was warned several times: “Councillor Halford, do not do that.” . Councillor Halford walked out of the room.
The terrible irony here is that while the Tories have been making a whole series of unfounded accusations against Swanley & District Labour Party, their own Leader has been facing allegations from an employee. If the Tories attacked Labour as a strategy to deflect attention away from their own very obvious short comings, it has clearly failed.
It also seems that the audit report is to be delayed for a month, although this was not discussed at the meeting.
This bizarre meeting took another unexpected twist when two representatives from the company U+I turned up to discuss their proposals for the development of Swanley Town Centre.
It seems absurd that this had not been put on the agenda, or publicised on the Swanley Town Council website. Many members of the public would have been very interested in hearing what they had to say.
There are things for the residents of Swanley to be extremely concerned about. The rents are going to be “market plus” and this was stated without any recognition of the financial hardship so many people are now facing. The whole development seems to be geared towards attracting people with lots of money. We will be posting a detailed report on what they had to say shortly.
A very strange and disturbing meeting.