Councillors Clash Over Trip To Property Fair

Ruth Cadbury accused of "hypocrisy"for flying to Cannes


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A row has broken out over a trip by a Labour councillor to a prestigious property summit in the south of France at taxpayers’ expense - three years after she slated a Conservative councillor for "enjoying the sunshine “ on the very same trip.

Councillor Ruth Cadbury, who is deputy-leader of Hounslow Council, flew out this week to attend the four-day MIPIM convention in Cannes, which draws over 20,000 architects, town planners, and property developers from all over the world .

But Ms .Cadbury, who is deputy-leader on Hounslow Council ( Brentford ward) has been accused of “hypocrisy” by Conservative councillor Peter Thompson whom she criticised for attending the summit in 2009. At the time, Cllr. Cadbury said;

“Residents will want to know why they are enjoying themselves in the sunshine whilst council tax payers are fearing for their jobs.”

Councillor Thompson, who represents the Turnham Green ward in Chiswick hit back this week;

“If saying one thing and doing another is a succinct description of hypocrisy, then Ruth Cadbury’s actions certainly qualify. I will be interested to see how see spins herself out of this one!

“At the time I defended going to MIPIM as it was an excellent opportunity for us to meet the people who could help us regenerate our town centres after years of Labour neglect. I guess that I ought to be flattered that now that Labour are in power they have seen the value in what we did.”

He also criticised Cllr Jagdish Sharma, the current leader of the Council, who had queried the cost of the trip in 2009, citing the £1,000 registration fee, and the cost of flights, hotels and meals as “horrendous”.

“Cllr. Sharma also has questions to answer for giving the green light to this one in light of his early comments! It’s no wonder that people hold politicians in such low regard when you consider the behaviour of these two!” he said.

But in a statement from Cannes, Cllr Ruth Cadbury (pictured right) defended her decision to attend the conference and said going this year was “the right thing to do” while going there four years ago was not.

 “Under the Conservatives there was no plan for our town centres. Under Labour, we have a town centre master plan, and a plan to make much better use of our assets.

 “Who wouldn’t put the highest priority on regenerating Hounslow town centre and attracting investment to towns like Brentford after the years of Conservative neglect? MIPIM is the key event in the world for talking to the people who can make that regeneration and investment happen. That is why I attended. Being there this year was the right thing to do and will help turn our plans into a reality. Four years ago it wasn’t the right thing to do.

 “Over three days I have met representatives from 50 organisations who are interested in working with us and bringing much needed investment, jobs and homes to Hounslow. The return on our relatively small investment in going to MIPIM is clear.”

 Frank Wingate, Chief Executive of West London Business, said: "We're very pleased that some of our West London boroughs are attending the MIPIM property fair. This is Europe's major event for property development and regeneration and anyone serious about encouraging inward investment and economic growth can't afford to miss the business opportunities to gain contacts and promote our attractions that are offered there. West London has a great deal to offer, but we must be active in face of international competition."

March 10, 2012

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