THE Bishop of Willesden has slammed the "arrogance" and "complacency" of a number of high-ranking Tories on Harrow Council in a highly critical letter.
Peter Broadcast delivered the parting shot – but without naming names - when he suddenly resigned on Friday as chairman of Harrow Council's standards committee in protest at the introduction of a new eligibility rule.
The stricter criteria prevents those with membership of a political party from applying to be an independent member of the committee – such as Mr Broadbant, who is an ex-Islington councillor and is signed up to the Labour Party, although he does not believe the rule change was motivated by a vendetta to block him from being reappointed for another four year term.
In an e-mail to all councillors, he wrote: "One detectable current within the council is an arrogance of power on the part of a small governing group of members within the majority party, which is already having a detrimental effect on the morale of some of backbench members.
"Cabinet government does, of course, inevitably produce an 'inner ring', but I do think that you will need to address how you keep members onside.
"The ethical governance review preliminary findings indicated that there is a fair amount of complacency on the part of the council leadership, and I suspect that it would be important for you not to ignore this going forward."
The bishop continued: "I also want to express concern at the lack of response from officers to any of the concerns that I have raised.
"It is indicative of an over-deferential and subservient culture that will also need addressing.
"No officer has bothered to pick up the phone or give me any indication as to what has been going on."
Mr Broadbent said the standards committee – which is made of up of six councillors and four independents, one of whom chairs - will be left "poorer" because potential candidates who happen to be a paid-up supporter of Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats or other parties but also have "important expertise" will be blocked from applying.
"You need to understand politics to make sure councillors are doing their job properly," he told the Observer.
In his resignation letter the bishop further criticised the fact that the panel did not consult the committee before imposing the new eligibility criteria.
The standards committee meets on an ad-hoc basis to decide in private if a councillor has brought the authority into disrepute.