12:10pm Friday 18th May 2012
A ROW has broken out over a decision to invite failed Labour election candidates to a lunch to celebrate the election of Newport’s new mayor.
Conservative leader Matthew Evans hit out at the decision made by the leader of the ruling Labour Party, Bob Bright, saying it was a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Cllr Evans said theMay 22 event – which will inaugurate Alway councillor John Guy as mayor for 2012/13 – should be non-political and not a “thankyou party” for those who stood for the Labour Party in the May 3 elections.
The former council leader, who led the Tory/Liberal Democrat coalition for four years from 2008, said: “It’s supposed to be a civic occasion, not a thank-you party for Labour. It’s taxpayers footing the bill and I cannot see any reason for it.
“I think in these time – or any times – it’s sending out the wrong message to people.
“It’s supposed to be a non-political day and it smacks of political patronage.”
Around 150 people are set to attend the event at Rodney Parade, and a budget of £7,000 has been set aside to pay for it.
Council leader Bob Bright said the authority extended invitations to unsuccessful candidates from all of the elected parties after a number of invited guests were unable to make it.
He said it was a simple way to thank those who came forward to democratically represent their community and was recognition of the time and commitment they invested in the city.
He added: “With invitations sent to Labour, Conservative, independent and Liberal Democrat candidates, to date only six Labour candidates have chosen to accept the invitation.”
Cllr Evans confirmed he was offered three places for Conservative candidates but turned them down in a bid to save the authority money.
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