A TORY councillor has apologised for calling Ellesmere Port & Neston council tenants “a problem”.
Cllr Keith Musgrave was attacked by his Labour opponents for making the “unfortunate remark” at a meeting of the Cheshire West and Chester Shadow Authority.
He says he apologised to Labour immediately afterwards and now, through the Pioneer, apologises to all 5,500 borough council tenants.
Cllr Musgrave, who represents Hartford & Whitegate Ward on Vale Royal Borough Council, made the slip of the tongue following a question from Ellesmere Port councillor Angela Claydon at a debate on the various portfolio responsibilities for Shadow Council Executive members.
It appeared the council’s housing stock for Ellesmere Port and Neston had disappeared from a report, which prompted the question from Cllr Claydon.
In reply, Cllr Musgrave said he now had the “problem” of Ellesmere Port and Neston’s housing stock.
Speaking after the meeting Cllr Claydon, who also chairs the borough council’s housing committee, said: “I have been following where the responsibility for Ellesmere Port and Neston’s housing will lie, as it seems to have been passed around most members of the cabinet.
“It seems to me none of them want to deal with it and aren’t interested in them.
“When Cllr Musgrave said he now had the ‘problem’, I took it as an insult against the tenants and an exposure of their true feelings about them. He should apologise.”
In fact Cllr Musgrave, who is Vale Royal’s lead councillor for business management, told the Pioneer he had done so immediately after that particular meeting.
He explained: “At the meeting of the Cheshire West and Chester Council to which you refer, Cllr Claydon stated that she was unclear as to which executive member had the responsibility for Ellesmere Port and Neston housing stock.
“I replied that I had and used the word ‘problem’ which, in retrospect, was unfortunate and for which I did apologise after the meeting to Cllr Claydon in person.
“I also assured her that in the New Year I would arrange a meeting with her and her deputy to discuss the whole question of Ellesmere Port and Neston housing stock.
“I hope this clarifies the matter and once again I apologise for any offence caused, which was not my intention.”