Councillor Chris Shaw has a Blooming dig back at 'political stunt'
COUNCIL leader Chris Shaw accused local In Bloom groups of pulling a "cheap political stunt" after they questioned the authority's support for their work.
Councillor Shaw made the comment in response to a question asked at last week's full council meeting, which suggested that he was not prepared to support the groups unless they agreed to "draconian terms and conditions".
As reported, the Labour council leader says that an elected member, in the shape of portfolio holder for tourism and culture Mick Burnett, should sit on the In Bloom committees of Grimsby, Cleethorpes and Immingham.
However, this is opposed by the groups themselves, who say it will turn them into a "political tool".
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But in an outspoken riposte at last week's meeting, Councillor Shaw accused the groups of making "misleading comments", and claimed that the chairman of Cleethorpes In Bloom Bob Callison had committed the authority to spending a five-figure sum on hosting next year's Britain In Bloom awards ceremony without asking its permission.
In a thinly veiled attack clearly aimed at Mr Callison, Councillor Shaw also accused a "certain individual" of politicising In Bloom in the past, by posting "certain political leaflets" in Cleethorpes In Bloom envelopes.
Mr Callison has stood as a Conservative candidate in the last three local elections. Councillor Shaw also seized on comments made by Mr Callison in the Grimsby Telegraph that a portfolio holder would not be able to tell the difference between "an oak tree and a monkey tree".
Councillor Shaw said: "I think what he means is a monkey puzzle tree."
He then went on to reel off a list of facts about both species, before adding: "I think that shows that some of us do know the difference between a monkey puzzle tree and an English oak tree.
"I also know the difference between a question asked out of concern and one that is asked as a cheap political stunt."
He added: "My final piece of advice – when you go to pick the grapes from the vine, pick the ones at the top because they are the sweetest. Don't pick the sour ones at the bottom."
Mr Callison said representatives of all three In Bloom committees will meet to discuss the outcome of the meeting once the minutes have been published, expected to be later this week.