As mentioned before while the Newham Conservativesmay not yet have any councillors in Newham, the opposition they are providing is formidable. Indeed it is becoming postively forensic. They have started an email bulletin to hundreds of interested local residents. The first one includes a detailed analysis of councillors travel expenses – which often include claims for hundreds of pounds without making clear what Council business was involved. Cllr Ron Manley "has claimed £1,665.26 including £769.10 for hotels, £60.41 for food and £435.90 on taxis with the highest being £62 for a 106km journey between Edinburgh and Peebles in Scotland."
The bulletin documents the use of councillor allowances to fund the local Labour Party:
"Disgruntled Labour Party members have confessed that their councillors have to pay a 5% levy on their basic annual allowance of £10,627 to Labour Party funds. For the last three years that amounts to something in the region of £82,481.
"We are also hearing,that Sir Robin Wales forces those who he gives extra responsibilities to pay another 5% fee (unconfirmed figure as yet) on top of that for his own campaign fund, which according to our estimates could be in the region of another £81,120 since 2006.
"No wonder Labour councillors have been so keen to keep increasing their expenses and no wonder the Mayor has given 81% of his group extra pay for extra roles – our Council Tax is being used pay for a Labour slush fund in 2010.
"Stranger still with all this money washing around, the Labour Party do not appear to have submitted any audited public accounts to the Electoral Commission. By law all political organisations that spend or receive more than £25,000 per year have to send accounts to the Commission or be fined.
So where is this slush fund and where are the accounts? We have asked the Commission to investigate.
Another items details councillors still being paid allowances to "advise" on community forums – even though they have been scrapped. "In our next edition, look out for story about the Town Hall's £15 million electricity bill, the 7000 leaseholders being overcharged by Newham Homes and the City Airport planning application farce," the bulletin concludes. Look forward to it.