A curious outburst of unparliamentary language after the pubs closed last night from Eltham MP Clive Efford, who branded London mayor Boris Johnson’s family as imbeciles.
Efford is a vocal backer of Johnson’s plans to build a third road crossing feeding into the A102 and the A2, so long as a Silvertown Tunnel includes a Docklands Light Railway link to his constituency. Indeed, he’s even left Eltham to pose next to a traffic jam in Greenwich to claim a Silvertown Tunnel would reduce congestion.
This is despite established studies which suggest building new roads attracts new traffic – which would have a big impact on Eltham, where the A2 leading to and from the proposed tunnel is reduced to two lanes, creating a polluting bottleneck at the heart of Efford’s constituency. Labour’s former mayor Ken Livingstone has disowned the scheme.
TfL has no plans to extend the DLR to Eltham – despite Greenwich Council helping Efford out by commissioning a £70,000 study into his idea. The current Silvertown Tunnel proposals only include space for road traffic, and nothing for pedestrians, cyclists or trains.
Just after midnight, Efford, who’s also the shadow minister for sport, tweeted these remarks about the mayor’s father after seeing him on BBC1’s political talk show, This Week.
Nothing wrong with a bit of robust argument, and we’ve all been rude about politicians, but if you’re backing something proposed by your political opponent, and want to negotiate for the best outcome, it’s probably best not to brand their family imbeciles.
Although, that said, the Silvertown Tunnel is an imbecilic idea.
But while we’re on Clive Efford, he’s a former Greenwich councillor, and still carries great sway within the local Labour establishment. Yet he’s remained silent on accusations of bullying by leader Chris Roberts.
This is despite the emergence of a voicemail where Roberts threatens cabinet member John Fahy, telling him he has a “fucking thick skull”. In case Efford hasn’t heard it, here it is…
There’s also been the decision by one of the Eltham ward party councillors, Hayley Fletcher, to stand down, complaining that the “bullying culture is rife and I see little prospect of that changing anytime soon”.
What has the shadow sports minister done about bullying in his own local party? I asked him myself last week, but got no reply.
Before Clive Efford flings insults at his opponents, perhaps he might like to sort his own party’s problems out first. And maybe, just maybe, he might like to set a better example…
PS. There was practically too much to report on from Wednesday’s Greenwich Council meeting, although the News Shopper’s Mark Chandler has had a good stab at the bizarre atmosphere where the bullying accusations against Chris Roberts hung over proceedings. More on the meeting will follow here, hopefully.