Tunbridge Wells council leader calls voters 'the natives'
Leaked emails have revealed the leader of Tunbridge
Wells council's true opinion of his constituents - branding
them "the natives".
Conservative Councillor Roy Bullock MBE spoke of "keeping
the natives happy" when referring to the public.
He also described his Tory colleagues who disagree with him
as "the enemy within".
The emails sent to council officers and his cabinet colleagues
reveal how Cllr Bullock proposes to deal with a council debate
forced on his administation.
It comes after the council received a petition signed
by 3,200 members of the public opposing his plans for a major
regeneration of the town centre, which could include the loss of
both the Town Hall and the Assembly Hall.
In an email dated 24 October, Cllr Bullock said: "We have to
control the agenda on the day, which should be in our gift
"I would suggest that when the petition organiser has their
three minutes then I would arrange for myself to be called to
"During that speech it is important that we set the ground for
the debate and to that end I would propose a motion.
"What is wanted is an all-embracing motion that makes if
difficult for all our members to vote against and puts the
opposition in a bad light if they vote against it."
Cllr Bullock went on to predict "a highly
politically-charged meeting - not only will we have (David) Neve
(Lib Dem leader) and co but also the enemy within".
Later, in a
reference to the last council debate on the subject when the
council locked around 70 members of the public outside the Town
Hall once the spectators gallery was full, Cllr Bullock suggests
webcasting the meeting "to keep the natives happy".
The widely circulated emails have caused outrage among
Don Rogers from Cranbrook, said: "Cllr Bullock has shown his
utter contempt for the people of Tunbridge Wells - the 'natives'
who have dared to stand overwhelmingly in the way of his scheme to
hand their listed town hall and theatre to a property
Cllr Sean Holden, who represents Cranbrook and Sissinghurst, has
been a long opponent of Cllr Bulllock's property development scheme
and is believed to be one of those regarded by the Tory leader as
"the enemy within".
Cllr Holden (Con) said: "What upsets me most is that not once in
these emails does Cllr Bullock consider the possibility of
listening to the views of the people or even considering that they
may have a valid point.
"He is only concerned with stifling the debate."
The debate which Cllr Bullock is concerned to control is
scheduled to take place at the Town Hall on Tuesday. The public
will be able to ask questions from 6pm, with the debate proper
beginning at 6.30pm.
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