Conservative association member brands party colleagues 'greedy vultures' over allowance hike (From Times Series)
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Conservative association member and Chairman of the Hendon and West Hendon Conservative groups, Adrian Murray-Leonard, brands party colleagues on Barnet Council 'greedy vultures' over allowance hike
A SENIOR Tory party member in the borough has branded the ruling administration “immoral, disgusting and vile” over their decision to vote through huge pay hikes.
Chairman of the Hendon and West Hendon Conservative groups, Adrian Murray-Leonard, said he was “incandescent with rage” after hearing elected members of the council had agreed as a majority to approve allowance increases for senior cabinet members.
And when he tried to question council leader Lynne Hillan over the move while she was on holiday last week, he claims he was dismissed and given no real justification.
Mr Murray-Leonard, who received 2,130 votes when he stood for the ward seat of West Hendon at the council elections in May, admits having a “heated” discussion with Cllr Hillan, but was shocked to be summoned to a hearing in front of a group of councillors.
In an email sent to Mr Murray-Leonard, Councillor Hugh Rayner, deputy chairman of the Hendon Conservative Association (HCA), states: “There has been some in recent days concern about the way in which you have expressed your opinions.
“In no way wishing to curb your enthusiasm, I would like to formally invite you to come to [the meeting] in order that you can discuss with HCA Officers any concerns you may have.”
Mr Murray-Leonard said he initially considered standing down from the association over the matter, but has reconsidered after finding support from party members both locally and nationally.
He said: “My reaction is purely based on principle, there is no malice in it.
“To take the decision to increase allowances is immoral, disgusting and vile. It is a crazy situation. I don't have a problem with the party, it is the people, they are greedy vultures and I don't want to be associated with them.
“Most of them are in it for themselves. They are living under an illusion of grandeur. Most of the people who are getting whipped to make the decision should stand up against it.”
Mr Murray-Leonard first joined the Conservative Party in 1985 but believes those who were elected in May have misled voters.
He said: “I cannot understand it. It is not what I stood for. If it goes through, then in future, I would stand as an independent.
“It makes us all look like liars. I am sorry for the people of West Hendon. I didn't expect this. If I had known about it a year ago, I would not have stood.”