Seawall war of word turns ugly

Conservative Tony Cox

Campaigner Peter Lovett, front

First published in Echo News
Last updated
by

A BITTER battle over the controversial Shoebury seawall plan has turned uglier, with a senior Tory accused of using offensive language.

Conservatives complained after Independent Ron Woodley called the Tory councillor responsible for public protection, waste and transport, Tony Cox “blobby” and an “idiot” in an e-mail.

But now an official complaint has been made against Mr Cox, who represents West Shoebury, after he compared Peter Lovett, of anti-seawall campaign group the Friends of Shoebury Common, to a North Korean dictator and branded him a “barefaced liar”.

Independent councillors have complained of language the Conservatives have used about Mr Woodley, who represents Thorpe, and Shoebury councillor Mike Assenheim on their blogs.

Mr Lovett, 67, of Leitrim Avenue, Shoebury, said: “Earlier I just laughed at it and thought what an immature kid he is.

“But when he wrote this about North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, who is referred to as ‘Dear Leader’, I thought it was a step too far.

“It’s not just trying to get his own way, it’s being outright offensive calling me someone like that.”

On his blog, Mr Cox, who considered reporting Mr Woodley over his “blobby” comment, described Mr Woodley as being the “financial controller of a company that went bust”.

The Independent, who has made much of his financial acumen in analysis of the administration’s plans for the seawall and Priory House care home, worked for Lesney Products, which went bankrupt and was put into receivership before being bought out.

But as a production control manager at Lensey, Mr Woodley had little if any financial responsibility at the company.

He said: “I think it shows desperation on the part of Tony to try to discredit people.”

Mr Cox, who is considered to be a Tory leadership contender when Nigel Holdcroft steps down in May, said: “If they want to get personal, that’s fine, but they want people to think they are ‘holier-than-thou’. I don’t pretend that.

“If people want to give it, they should be prepared to take it, too.”

Mr Assenheim has accused Conservative Mr Holdcroft of insulting his surname, by saying he was “demonstrating the ass in Assenheim” in a blog post from 2011.

The council’s monitoring officer will consider what action to take in relation to the complaint against Tony Cox within 28 days.

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