Greenwich leader Chris Roberts quits council after months of controversy

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts

First published in News
Last updated
News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , deputy news editor

Greenwich Council's leader will not stand at the local elections following a string of scandals, he has announced.

Councillor Chris Roberts was already standing down as leader but had said he intended to seek election as a councillor for Glyndon ward in May.

But in the past few months he has been dogged by controversy and News Shopper had called for him to go, with revelations about his use of the Greenwich Time paper, allegations of a bullying culture in his party - resulting in two councillors stepping down - and investigations into his conduct following a sweary voicemail left on a colleague's phone.

News Shopper understands Labour Group members revolted against him at a meeting this week over plans for the council-run Meridian Home Start company, leading to him resigning as its director.

In an email to councillors, he says staying on would be "unfair" to his successor and hints that person will be female - a possible reference to front-runners Councillor Denise Hyland and Councillor Jackie Smith.

His email said: "I wrote in February last year to advise that it was not my intention to seek re-election as Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich following this year’s local elections in May.  The administration held its final Council meeting at the end of March and on Monday the formal period of election ‘purdah’ commences.

"I am therefore writing to you now to advise that it is not in fact my intention to seek election to the Council at all. I believe the presence of a previous leader in the new administration, especially one who has held the post as long as I have, is unfair on any successor.

"When I wrote last year, I expressed the hope that we would be able to complete the work necessary to secure the Crossrail station at Woolwich. This we were able to announce last July.

"Our work on Crossrail was itself a crucial element of our growth agenda which has also seen the development of four new development master plans backed by targeted intervention by the Council to stimulate economic activity and generate employment.

"These include commitments over the next four years to build a new leisure centre in the heart of Woolwich, a new cinema in Eltham High Street, a performing arts centre in the Borough Halls at Greenwich and the expansion of pier capacity at Greenwich, Woolwich, Charlton and Thamesmead.

"In addition the council is primed to finance up to £30m of investment in the expansion of school places to meet the growing demand of our population as well as securing more than 450 genuinely affordable homes to be built on the Greenwich Peninsula for those in greatest need.

"Of course the final year of this administration has been overshadowed by the awful murder of Lee Rigby and marks the lowest point of my entire period as Leader. I am relieved at least that his killers were so swiftly brought to justice. I hope this, alongside the outpouring of support and thanks for Lee’s service to his country, provides some small measure of condolence to his family.

"During this last year, I am particularly proud of the progress we have made in moving people off benefits and into work. A coherent and coordinated approach has enabled hundreds of families locally move into employment.

"Our programmes for growth and anti-poverty have been recognised nationally, as indeed is our continuing strong record of financial management.  None of the projects I have referred to above require additional support from the Council Tax payer. We have frozen Council Tax seven years in a row and the Council’s finances have been left in a robust state which will enable this to be maintained during the four year life of the next council. 

"I remain enormously grateful for having had the honour to serve as Leader of this Borough. As I write last year, I have been blessed with an extraordinary collection of council officers who have embraced the agenda I have set, even when that agenda keeps expanding. The same is true of the remarkable women who have worked in my personal office and given so much by way of support and help to me.

"I was grateful for the huge number of kind messages I received to my message last year and while some have kindly canvassed my candidature for London or Westminster, it has always been my wish to ‘do’ something rather than ‘be’ something.

"I have greatly valued the support and commitment of our wide and expanding array of partners to working with, for or alongside Greenwich during my time as leader. I trust this will continue and that my successor when she is elected in June will be equally blessed and that the work we have each committed to on behalf of the people of Royal Greenwich will continue into the future."

'Presidential style'

Leader of Greenwich Conservatives Councillor Spencer Drury said: "The manner of Cllr Roberts resignation, late and without consultation, reflects the presidential style of leadership which he has developed since the turn of the millennium. 

"It will be interesting to watch how Labour copes without his presence on the Council and the single minded leadership he provided.  In my opinion, Cllr Roberts would not have found life easy as a backbench Councillor for the next four years.”

Comments (9)

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4:20pm Fri 11 Apr 14

Wombles4000 says...

Gonna be missed by no one. I visited quite a few places across the borough last week to see friends after quite a while away.

So much of the borough is a complete dump now. How did they let it get so bad? Woolwich, Charlton, Thamesmead, Abbey Wood, Plumstead, Eltham etc. Bloody awful areas. It's really noticeable when you've been somewhere half decent.

Under his watch a lot went wrong.
Gonna be missed by no one. I visited quite a few places across the borough last week to see friends after quite a while away. So much of the borough is a complete dump now. How did they let it get so bad? Woolwich, Charlton, Thamesmead, Abbey Wood, Plumstead, Eltham etc. Bloody awful areas. It's really noticeable when you've been somewhere half decent. Under his watch a lot went wrong. Wombles4000
  • Score: 14

4:59pm Fri 11 Apr 14

Joelo says...

The first thing the new leader needs to do is grant a memorial for Lee Rigby in Woolwich, us loacals will not let this rest!
The first thing the new leader needs to do is grant a memorial for Lee Rigby in Woolwich, us loacals will not let this rest! Joelo
  • Score: 44

7:01pm Fri 11 Apr 14

SidcupResident says...

I don't know why you'd want to be part of the Paedophile Party anyway...

www.Labour25.com

http://www.dailymail
.co.uk/news/article-
2575505/Letter-paedo
phile-group-links-Ha
rriet-Harman-Patrici
a-Hewitt-AFTER-said-
marginalised.html

http://www.rense.com
/general89/brownpd.h
tm
I don't know why you'd want to be part of the Paedophile Party anyway... www.Labour25.com http://www.dailymail .co.uk/news/article- 2575505/Letter-paedo phile-group-links-Ha rriet-Harman-Patrici a-Hewitt-AFTER-said- marginalised.html http://www.rense.com /general89/brownpd.h tm SidcupResident
  • Score: 32

10:13am Sat 12 Apr 14

cookster says...

All hail Emperor Roberts!
All hail Emperor Roberts! cookster
  • Score: 13

12:00pm Sat 12 Apr 14

Gypo.Joe says...

I heard Roberts has a new job, El Supremo in North Korea.

Se ya.
I heard Roberts has a new job, El Supremo in North Korea. Se ya. Gypo.Joe
  • Score: -21

11:17am Sun 13 Apr 14

white rabbit9 says...

SidcupResident wrote:
I don't know why you'd want to be part of the Paedophile Party anyway...

www.Labour25.com

http://www.dailymail

.co.uk/news/article-

2575505/Letter-paedo

phile-group-links-Ha

rriet-Harman-Patrici

a-Hewitt-AFTER-said-

marginalised.html

http://www.rense.com

/general89/brownpd.h

tm
Oi..................
........ How can you talk about labour 25 and them being paedophiles without talking about the conservatives being paedophiles too.
And then you have the liberal leader praising them.

http://www.dailymail
.co.uk/news/article-
2602802/How-Liberal-
party-police-MI5-con
cealed-MP-Cyril-Smit
hs-industrial-scale-
child-abuse.html#ixz
z2ycNC6mhq

I can't think which sicko paeophile party I want in power. I have to think bloody hard over this.
[quote][p][bold]SidcupResident[/bold] wrote: I don't know why you'd want to be part of the Paedophile Party anyway... www.Labour25.com http://www.dailymail .co.uk/news/article- 2575505/Letter-paedo phile-group-links-Ha rriet-Harman-Patrici a-Hewitt-AFTER-said- marginalised.html http://www.rense.com /general89/brownpd.h tm[/p][/quote]Oi.................. ........ How can you talk about labour 25 and them being paedophiles without talking about the conservatives being paedophiles too. And then you have the liberal leader praising them. http://www.dailymail .co.uk/news/article- 2602802/How-Liberal- party-police-MI5-con cealed-MP-Cyril-Smit hs-industrial-scale- child-abuse.html#ixz z2ycNC6mhq I can't think which sicko paeophile party I want in power. I have to think bloody hard over this. white rabbit9
  • Score: 11

12:59pm Sun 13 Apr 14

Gypo.Joe says...

"A British National Party supporter who launched a four-year race hate campaign against his neighbours has been jailed for possessing child ****.

Nigel Hesmondhalgh from Hyndburn, Lancashire, was imprisoned for nine months at Burnley Crown Court after a series of degrading photos and videos of children were found on his home computer. Judge Simon Newell also ordered him to sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years. Hesmondhalgh, 37, had only just been released from a 30-week prison sentence for racially aggravated harassment imposed last March when police raided his home in November.

His computer was seized and found to contain no fewer than 29 indecent images of children, and 11 similar videos. Four of the pictures, and three of the videos, were graded at level four, the second most serious category of child ****."


Just to put a little balance on things. If you look you can find criminality in all the political parties. If you look with both eyes open that is, not only a left eye or a right eye open.
"A British National Party supporter who launched a four-year race hate campaign against his neighbours has been jailed for possessing child ****. Nigel Hesmondhalgh from Hyndburn, Lancashire, was imprisoned for nine months at Burnley Crown Court after a series of degrading photos and videos of children were found on his home computer. Judge Simon Newell also ordered him to sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years. Hesmondhalgh, 37, had only just been released from a 30-week prison sentence for racially aggravated harassment imposed last March when police raided his home in November. His computer was seized and found to contain no fewer than 29 indecent images of children, and 11 similar videos. Four of the pictures, and three of the videos, were graded at level four, the second most serious category of child ****." Just to put a little balance on things. If you look you can find criminality in all the political parties. If you look with both eyes open that is, not only a left eye or a right eye open. Gypo.Joe
  • Score: -13

5:51pm Sun 13 Apr 14

SidcupResident says...

white rabbit9 wrote:
SidcupResident wrote:
I don't know why you'd want to be part of the Paedophile Party anyway...

www.Labour25.com

http://www.dailymail


.co.uk/news/article-
I totally agree. You'll find paedophiles in all walks of life including all political parties.

However what's more worrying is that unlike the Tories and Lib Dems, the Labour Party have actively campaigned for the legalisation of paedophilia through the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE).

With regards to GypoJoe's comment about the BNP member, I'm quite surprised by that considering the British National Party have a policy of bringing back the death penalty for kiddy fiddlers.
I believe UKIP have the same policy.
[quote][p][bold]white rabbit9[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]SidcupResident[/bold] wrote: I don't know why you'd want to be part of the Paedophile Party anyway... www.Labour25.com http://www.dailymail .co.uk/news/article- I totally agree. You'll find paedophiles in all walks of life including all political parties. However what's more worrying is that unlike the Tories and Lib Dems, the Labour Party have actively campaigned for the legalisation of paedophilia through the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE). With regards to GypoJoe's comment about the BNP member, I'm quite surprised by that considering the British National Party have a policy of bringing back the death penalty for kiddy fiddlers. I believe UKIP have the same policy. SidcupResident
  • Score: 14

10:56am Mon 14 Apr 14

Gypo.Joe says...

@ SidcupResident why would you be surprised ?

The BNP or EDL etc go hand in hand with hypocrisy, it's their stock in trade.
@ SidcupResident why would you be surprised ? The BNP or EDL etc go hand in hand with hypocrisy, it's their stock in trade. Gypo.Joe
  • Score: -7

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