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Damian White calls for apology following Jon Cruddas’ comments

Cllr Damian White has denied reports that he pulled staff members from the meeting.

The leader of Havering Council, Damian White, has responded to criticism that he is playing politics with flooding in Rainham.

Last week, Rainham MP Jon Cruddas claimed Cllr White had pulled senior council figures out of the meeting about preventing flooding in the area.

It comes following the floods in Rainham in 2020 which saw a number of residents forced to leave their homes. 

As part of their position as lead local flood authority, Havering Council are also required to produce a report with recommendations to help prevent another flood in the area.

Something which has not yet been published, leaving Jon Cruddas frustrated.

He said on Friday: “The Tory council leader is too busy playing political games to care about the lives of local residents in Rainham. The safety and protection of my constituents and their homes is paramount to me, which is why I pulled agencies around the table in the first place.

“We are approaching winter and potentially periods of heavy rainfall, so I am calling on the council to cooperate. It was concerning to hear that Network Rail have not been consulted by the Council on the forthcoming S19 flood report. Protecting local residents will need the valuable input from all agencies to effectively resolve the problem.

“They must produce the report with Thames Water, Environment Agency and Network Rail involvement and most importantly, set out a cross sector action plan to protect Rainham. That’s what I expect and will continue to press them to do their duty.”

Damian White is demanding an apology following Jon Cruddas’ comments: “It is Ironic that Jon Cruddas is accusing me of playing politics when it is clear that’s exactly what he is doing. I and my council are absolutely committed to finding solutions and preventing flooding.

“As part of this there are regular meetings that take place between Havering Council Officers, Jon Cruddas, Thames Water, Environment Agency and Network Rail. However, officers could not attend the meeting and asked for it to be moved. It was also requested that either the Cabinet Member for Environment or myself attend when it was re-scheduled as this is a priority for the council – this was refused. Why?

“At no time did I ask that officers should not attend and I look forward to an apology from ‘Desperate Jon’, who is trying to play politics with flooding in the south of Havering.”

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