Freedom of the Borough? It could be yours for £100.
THE Freedom of the Borough of Haringey is an honour only bestowed upon extraordinary individuals – which is why one councillor is in hot water for suggesting that the new mayor should flog it to residents for £100. When nominating Labour s mayoral candid
THE Freedom of the Borough of Haringey is an honour only bestowed upon extraordinary individuals - which is why one councillor is in hot water for suggesting that the new mayor should flog it to residents for £100.
When nominating Labour's mayoral candidate Alan Dobbie at Haringey Council's Annual General Meeting on Monday, Cllr Sheila Peacock suggested that in return for £100 and tea with the Mayor, residents could be given the previously prestigious honour.
She said: "Some of the boroughs are now selling the Freedom of the Borough to worthy citizens. I think we could explore offering the same facility here and the money raised could go to the Mayor's charity - say £100 for a certificate with the mayor. That sounds good to me."
Only four distinguished individuals have received the honour in the past 30 years. These included Oliver Tambo, who led the ANC in exile while Nelson Mandela was imprisoned and his wife Adelaide who was a political activist and widely regarded as a mother figure to anti-apartheid campaigners in exile.
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The only other two figures to have been awarded it were councillors Mary Neuner and Maureen Dewar, who gave a lifetime of service to the borough.
Liberal Democrat councillors reacted with incredulity at Cllr Peacock's remark.
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Cllr Robert Gorrie, Lib Dem Leader, said: "The mere suggestion that one of the highest honours the council can award to our residents could be open to this sort of car boot sale is shocking.
"Not only does this tarnish the honour for those who have already been awarded the freedom of the borough but brings with it an unfortunate suggestion of sleaze."
Cllr Richard Wilson, Lib Dem Deputy Leader, added: "Labour are not strangers to 'cash for honours' scandals but they should not bring these to Haringey - we completely reject any idea of selling off these honours.
"The mayor's charity work is very important but this is not the way to go about raising money."
A spokesman for Haringey Council said: "Cllr Peacock's remark at the Mayor-making meeting was a light-hearted comment not a serious suggestion."
See pages 2 and 16.