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Cllr Sarah Hudson criticises KCC leader Roger Gough, saying he is more interested in self-preservation than residents

A Tory launched an astonishing attack on her party’s leadership at Kent County Council (KCC), claiming they are more interested in “self-preservation” than the residents he serves.

Cllr Sarah Hudson, who stood unsuccessfully against KCC leader Roger Gough last year, made her remarks in an email to Conservative group colleagues on February 16.

Cllr Sarah Hudson
Cllr Sarah Hudson

She informed colleagues she was standing down from all committees as a matter of principle.

The Malling Rural East representative is also now demanding an investigation into how the email ended up being leaked to the media.

The message, sent ahead of the following Monday’s crunch budget meeting at County Hall said: “Yesterday, I resigned from all the committees on which I sit, as well as Advisory and a group of members who sit on the misnomer of Group Communications.

“This is for one reason alone. I will no longer support an administration, and specifically a ‘leader’ who cares more about his self-preservation as ‘leader’ than he does about the residents on Kent.”

Cllr Hudson said the council must show a willingness to cut the number of members who receive a special responsibility allowance (SRA), such as cabinet members and deputies, to address the “consistent, uncontrolled overspend of the council”.

Cllr Roger Gough
Cllr Roger Gough

The message added: “KCC have too many members on the payroll, and it is only fair and proper to show constraint in this area, as we are alleged to be doing in others. Twenty one members in cabinet is an overspend that can be cut.

“I cannot in all conscience continue to support such an administration unprepared and ill-prepared to make the tough financial but necessary decisions that must be made.

“I am not alone in this, but will not speak for others. So many backbenchers are completely disillusioned with this administration, and you can understand why many members will no longer attend group meetings or full council itself.

“I have shown integrity and backbone in this decision – it’s such a shame others do not.”

Cllr Hudson refused to elaborate on her email except to say that she had contacted the chief whip, Cllr Dylan Jeffrey, after it was leaked to a broadcast organisation.

Cllr Hudson won’t be attending committee meetings at County Hall anymore
Cllr Hudson won’t be attending committee meetings at County Hall anymore

She asked for an investigation, but Cllr Jeffrey said: “It’s not breaking any rules around corporate communication and as such it would cause no harm to the county council.

“In leaking an email which was to the (Tory) group members, there was nothing done that is a breach of the council's code of conduct.

“She (Cllr Hudson) is not happy with the leader and stood against him and was defeated.”

Asked about Cllr Hudson’s allegations about Cllr Gough being more interested in “self-preservation” than the people of Kent, Cllr Jeffrey said: “It may have been said in a moment of upset.

“Whether she meant those particular words, you would have to ask her. It’s not caused a great deal of concern and if anything it has brought the group closer together. It’s her opinion and it’s not echoed within the group.”

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