Merton Councillor Chris Edge fed up with borough politics to stand down at next election
A Merton Councillor fed up of politics and what he calls the frustrations of the council is standing down at the next election.
Dundonald ward Councillor Chris Edge has slammed politics in the borough before he plans to step down in May after eight years in the job.
He is also leaving his governorship at Wimbledon Chase Primary School.
Coun Edge said party politics have made it hard for any real work to be done, and that Labour are ‘clever’ in their relationship with Merton Park Ward Independent Residents (MPWIR), because they need them to achieve a majority vote.
Council leader Stephen Alambritis said it is not about being clever but doing what is best for residents.
Coun Edge recently rejoined the Merton Conservatives having served as an independent candidate after being suspended from the party last May following a dispute over the election of Councillor Krystal Miller as the borough's mayor.
He said: "I am still frustrated with the Yes, Prime Minister scenario in the council trying to get things done. "We can’t do very much, particularly in opposition.
"I think you are wasting your time.
"Everything we try to do is blocked by the so-called independents in Merton Park. They are so insular in their views.
"Anything we suggest personally they say it is a good idea but publicly they won’t support it.
"Labour is very clever, they know they need Merton Park Residents to support them.
"It is hard work."
MPWIR leader Peter Southgate hit back at the claims, saying the idea they have different views privately and publicly is false.
Councillor Southgate said: "I would say that’s not true.
"We have a situation where for the last eight years we have had a balance of power with a minority Conservative administration or a minority Labour administration.
"We have not sought to thwart their programmes unless we have seen it as not being in the interest of Merton Park."
Coun Alambritis, a Labour Councillor, said: "I find the open warfare does not surprise me at all.
"Chris Edge has good business experience and has decided to step down.
"It is no surprise to me.
"He was in the middle of it all."
Speaking about the recent whistleblowing report into the way interim staff members are appointed and paid, Coun Edge said he was not impressed with the way it was handled.
He said: "Appointing auditors was fine.
"I am not objecting to the individuals concerned [in the jobs] but I think it needs looking at because we can’t carry on doing that without the council’s agreement."
A whistleblowing dossier, purported to be from anonymous council officers, alleged malpractice, corruption and unlawfulness in relation to the procurement of a number of consultants at the council but no evidence of corruption was found by independent auditors.
Coun Edge added: "It is a personal decision, I have had enough of politics.
"I have been grateful for the support of residents and have enjoyed working with them."
The Merton Borough elections will be held on Thursday, May 22.
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