A Conservative councillor says he is ‘outraged’ that two Labour councillors travelled to Buckingham Palace in a car paid for by Ashfield District Council.
Ashfield Labour councillors Lachlan Morrison and Nicolle Ndiweni, along with their partners, were invited to the Queen’s garden party on May 31, and were transported in a chauffeur-driven car, which cost Ashfield District Council approximatly £470.
Coun Anderson said: “I am outraged that they took a chauffeur-driven car, and they should pay back that money.”
However, Coun Morrison said that travelling by the chauffer-driven car was the most cost-effective way for four people to travel to London.
He said: “I looked into getting the train and it just wasn’t viable. Return train fares would cost £380 for four people, plus the cost of the tube which is £12, so the cost for the car was really minimal.”
He added that catching the train would lengthen an already long day: “We were out from 8am-9pm. Getting the trains would not have been feasible, as we would have been out from 6am to midnight.”
He added that they were invited by the Chairman of the council, who himself is invited automatically, and that for 30 years councillors had taken cars to the party, paid for by the local authority.
He suggested that Coun Anderson was bitter about being suspended from the Labour party in February.
Cllr Ndiweni said that she was not privy to information about how the transport was paid for, and that she had simply been invited along.
A council spokeswoman said: “The Council receives two invitations every year for civic dignitaries to attend a Royal Garden Party. As a local authority, it is expected that we accept invitations from the Queen, and Ashfield District Council like many other councils sent representatives to the event.”
She added that the use of the civic car can be the most cost effective form of travel when four representatives attend and travel together, and that it provides a safer option when traveling with the chairman’s chains of office.