Private Eye
16 - 29 May, 2003


FOLLOWING the last Eye's account of the sophisticated debating skills displayed by local Tories in Romford, there is more news of the enthusiasm of IDS's Essex boys.
Just after 1am on polling day, 1 May, Southend's Tory deputy mayor-elect Roger Weaver found himself in a tussle in a suburban garden with a local environmental campaigner, Chris Ford, a leading light in protests against a road scheme which will involve the felling of 120 trees in and near the town's Priory Park, was checking on posters displayed on the properties of fellow campaigners after reports that some had been removed and others defaced with "Vote Conservative" stickers.
The originals read: "Don't Vote Conservative. Save Priory Park. Don't vote Weaver", in reference to Weaver's former council role as cabinet member for planning and transport. Ford tells the Eye he saw Weaver, who was acompanied by his wife, fellow Tory councillor Verina Wilson, enter the garden of a house displaying a "Save Priory Park" board and fix a "Vote Conservative" sticker to it. Whereupon Ford walked up, took a photo of the couple with his digital camera and declared: "I've got you now!"
After a full and frank exchange of views, says Ford, the pair engaged in a struggle for possession of the board, during which it struck him in the face, splitting his lip, cutting his nose and grazing his hand. Ford has complained to the police. Weaver tells the Eye: "Mr Ford's accusations are not true. Other than that I have nothing to say."
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