I’ve had a mixed reaction to my story here a couple of weeks back about Greenwich councillors cutting short their first full meeting in three months to drink wine at a ceremony to honour one of their own. On 26 October, a full council meeting was chopped back to an hour, with no questions asked of the council leader, so former Conservative leader Peter King could be awarded the freedom of the borough to mark his 32 years on the council.
This was in full sight of Blackheath Bluecoat pupils – whose school faces closure – and other campaigners, who had gathered to raise issues that had built up in the three months since the councillors had last met, a period which saw the worst civil disturbances in the borough’s history as well as further concerns about job cuts among council staff. Not a single elected representative, neither Labour nor Conservative, tabled a verbal question of the council’s leadership, as the mayor worked to keep the meeting short, with the exception of a couple of queries about finance and polling stations.
Councillors were greeted by demonstrators as they entered the meeting, and once again as they left for what was, to all intents and purposes, a private bash in the new Woolwich Centre across the road.
Friday update: A full list of councillors who went is on the council’s website.