Outcast Tory councillor says she has received widespread support from constituents (From Times Series)
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Outcast Barnet Tory councillor Kate Salinger says she has received widespread support from constituents
THE councillor shunned by her Tory party colleagues for not supporting a vote in favour of allowance increases claims she has received widespread support from her constituents.
Conservative ward councillor for Coppetts, Councillor Kate Salinger, was stripped of her committee roles following her abstention in the vote on the issue of giving extra money to senior party members.
She has previously stated the decision was taken as a matter of conscience, which according to party rules, allows her a free right not to support party policy.
But following the meeting of full council on Tuesday night, she became the focus of media attention and was quickly prised by many sides for taking a stand.
Speaking yesterday, Cllr Salinger said: “I am sad they have misjudged the local community view to the extent they have, because the messages of support and congratulation I have received represent all types of people from all corners of the borough.
“I hope the decision will be reviewed and that many Barnet councillors will reject the rise they have been offered.”
Cllr Salinger's profile on Barnet Council's website has been amended to take account of her removal from her committee positions, but still shows she is chairman of the childrens' services overview and scrutiny sub-committee.
Former teacher Cllr Salinger, who has been on the council since 2006, in fact chaired a meeting of the committee on Wednesday as members are not able to vote to remove the chair. The party will have to wait until the next meeting of a more senior committee before voting on whether Cllr Salinger should remain.
But she thinks her actions have shown her depth of feeling against the plans in increase the allowances of some councillors by up to £20,000.
She said: “It is damaging to the Conservative party of Barnet.
“They take no account of the current economic climate or of how many other people are having to make sacrifices as a result.
“They seem to think they are professionals and should be paid more money as professionals. In a time of plenty it might be appropriate to take the rise, but it is not a time of plenty.”
Local Government Minister Grant Shapps has criticised the move, claiming it “looks and feels wrong”.
And Cllr Salinger, who is married to the former leader of the council, Councillor Brian Salinger, said the treatment by her council colleagues will not deter her from serving the community as a Tory representative.
She said:”I am a Conservative and I was following national leadership, which I am happy to do.
“I have not been criticised by any constituents and I can only imagine my actions met with their favour.
“I will continue to serve my constituents the best I can and I can only in a way I have always tried to.”