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Labour man quits in cash row

PUBLISHED: 16:21 10 December 2001 | UPDATED: 11:01 03 March 2010

A SENIOR Labour councillor in Ipswich is leaving Civic Centre after a bust-up with his colleagues. Former Labour chief whip Tim Watson stunned his group by resigning as chairman of the council's community improvements steering group.

A SENIOR Labour councillor in Ipswich is leaving Civic Centre after a bust-up with his colleagues.

Former Labour chief whip Tim Watson stunned his group by resigning as chairman of the council's community improvements steering group.

Now he has told the council he will not be standing at next May's elections, adding: "I can't ignore my principles, even if my group can!"

His disenchantment stems from a decision by the council to change the way money is allocated for community improvements.

It's three-year improvement programme was extended to five years - with no extra money becoming available.

And it was decided to use money from the community improvements budget, which is usually spent on improvements on the town's housing estates and roads, for work on the Regent Theatre.

Mr Watson stormed out of a meeting of the steering group, and told the next full council meeting of his decision to leave the authority.

He said he had also been put off local politics by the standard of debate in the council chamber.

"Just look at yourselves," he told councillors. "All these pointless questions and nit-picking. What are we doing here?"

Council leader Peter Gardiner accepted that Mr Watson was not happy about the way things had developed at Civic Centre over the last few weeks.

But he believed there were personal reasons behind his decision to stand down from the borough council as well.

"Tim has just become a father and I think he wants to spend more time with his family," he said.

"He was unhappy about the changes to the community developments budget, but the decision was backed by the group - although he could not accept that."


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