Esther McVey launches broadside as Wirral social landlord appoints Labour MP's husband as boss (From Wirral Globe)
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Esther McVey launches broadside as Wirral social landlord appoints Labour MP's husband as boss
11:20am Tuesday 28th August 2012 in News
WEST Wirral's MP has blasted social landlord Wirral Partnership Homes over its newly-appointed chairman.
Esther McVey has criticised the landlord for bringing Wirral South MP Alison McGovern’s husband in as the company’s chairman elect.
Miss McVey said the decision to give Ashwin Kumar the role would lead to a “conflict of interest” due to his links with the Labour Party.
Miss McVey said: “As the husband of the Labour MP for Wirral South, the most marginal Labour seat in Wirral and a self-proclaimed Labour activist since the age of 15 when he joined the party, Mr Kumar has demonstrated that there is a clear and tangible conflict of interest.
“This is a post that that is supposedly non-political.
“I note that the council leader Councillor Phil Davies was part of the appointment panel.
"This 'jobs for the boys culture' has all the hallmarks of the cronyism which dogged militant run Liverpool in the 1980s, especially as this is now a paid position which was previously unpaid.
“I now have serious concerns over the future ability of the council and WPH to deliver fair and equitable services across the borough and I believe in making this appointment the largest single social housing provider in Wirral has acted in an inappropriate manner which can only have a negative effect on my constituents in Wirral West."
However WPH defended their decision by stating that Mr Kumar did declare his relationship with Ms McGovern and that he was the best candidate for the position.
They added that Wirral Tory leader Cllr Jeff Green was also on the company’s board.
A spokesman said: “WPH are aware that Ashwin Kumar is the husband of Alison McGovern MP as he did declare this.
"The selection panel after interviewing the five shortlisted candidates felt that he was the best candidate for the post of chair.
“WPH is a non-political organisation and it was made clear to all candidates that they would not act in any political capacity.
Jeff Green is also on our board.
"Meetings are currently being organised with all major stakeholders of WPH, including all party leaders to discuss the new board and how we can continue to work together.”
As part of his new role, Mr Kumar will supervise the organisation’s response to welfare benefit reforms and also the relocation of WPH to a single base in Birkenhead.
Mr Kumar, who is an economist and vice-chairman of homelessness charity, Broadway, said: “I am delighted to be offered the opportunity to join Wirral Partnership Homes.
“I look forward to helping to ensure that WPH remains financially healthy despite the pressures of the current economic climate so that we can continue to give an excellent service to our tenants.”