Buses chairman blamed for leaks

A MOVE to oust Ipswich Buses chairman Phil Smart is to be launched at the next meeting of the borough-owned company.Labour councillor Mr Smart has been blamed by members of the ruling Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration for leaking details about possible service cuts if the council goes ahead with proposals to force the company to pay a dividend.

A MOVE to oust Ipswich Buses chairman Phil Smart is to be launched at the next meeting of the borough-owned company.

Labour councillor Mr Smart has been blamed by members of the ruling Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration for leaking details about possible service cuts if the council goes ahead with proposals to force the company to pay a dividend.

He also allegedly said: “If there are cuts, it will be Tory routes which go first,” a claim he has subsequently denied.

However Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors on the bus company board have called on him to reconsider his position.

Now borough transport spokesman Paul West, who is also on the board, has called for a vote of no confidence in Mr Smart's chairmanship.

He told The Evening Star: “I think Mr Smart has a conflict between his role as chairman of Ipswich Buses and his role as an active member of the Labour Party.

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“I don't think he can continue as chairman of the bus company while also being actively involved in the Labour party's campaign against changes there.”

Mr West said that at present he did not have anyone else to back up his request - but felt it would get support at the next meeting.

A letter to Mr Smart calling for him to consider his position was signed by Mr West and fellow directors Inga Lockington and Bill Wright.

Labour group leader David Ellesmere was unsurprised by the move - but felt it would not be in the best interests of the company to lose Mr Smart.

He said: “No one in Ipswich, certainly no one on Ipswich council, knows as much about the bus company or buses in general than Phil Smart.

“He's always denied making the comment about buses in Tory areas, but he knows where the bus services run and where they get the most passengers. He is a real asset to the company.”

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