A Labour councillor is calling on a former colleague to donate the additional £1,400 a year that he now receives in expenses to disability charities.
Pitsea North West ward Cllr Gavin Callaghan is calling for Independent St Martins ward Cllr Phil Rackley to donate the allowance he receives for leading the Independents on Basildon Council.
Cllr Rackley, his wife and fellow St Martin’s Cllr Pat Rackley and Lee Chapel North Cllr Lynda Gordon recently formed an Independent group after resigning from the Labour Party following their withdrawal of the party whip.
Cllr Callaghan said: “At a time when disabled people in Basildon are being forced to bear the burden of the global banking crisis it’s hard to justify to the electorate why Phil Rackley is deserving of an additional £1,400 in allowances simply because he left the Labour Party.
“None of the Independents on the Council have any legitimacy and it is a real kick in the teeth to those people that voted for them to now find out that Mr Rackley is benefiting to the tune of £116 a month for betraying them.
“The truth is, this is the kind of egotistical nonsense that gives local government a bad name. Mr Rackley thought he was born to rule Basildon Labour Group and couldn’t stand the fact that more intellectual and capable members now occupy the leader and deputy leader roles.“
Cllr Phil Rackley has responded saying: “It’s about time Cllr Callaghan learnt that issuing this sort of statement would do more harm to the party he represents. It’s obviously insulting but as politicians we are used to criticism, but frankly to say to someone who has been in the Labour Party for 33 years they have left for more money and such a small amount it is not on. As Cllr Callaghan has been quick to do so with other matters I’m considering referring it to the councillor standards board.
“As Independents we do have legitimacy, we are still socialists and we are still supporters of the Labour Party. We resigned because we withdrew the Labour whip. This statement of Cllr Callaghan’s really is dishonest and may be put down to his inexperience.”