Tory Leader Criticised for Comparing Traffic Measures to Apartheid

Gerald McGregor unapologetic and plans no confidence motion against council

Gerald McGregor on Chiswick High Road campainging against Cycleway 9


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The leader of Hounslow Conservatives has been criticised after he compared new traffic lanes in Chiswick to apartheid measures in South Africa.

Tory leader Gerald McGregor has said new traffic orders in his ward are like a “creeping apartheid” in his weekly update on and that W4 residents are being hit with restrictions similar to separation tactics used in South Africa.

The politician also defended his colleague David Giles for labelling Labour councillors “the Brentford Taliban.”

Cllr McGregor claimed Mr Giles was simply quoting a resident when he used the phrase.

Mr Giles was suspended immediately after the comments were made and he has since claimed to be smeared.

Now the Tory leader has been labelled as being out of touch for his ‘inflammatory’ language.

Speaking about Cllr McGregor comments Labour councillor Salman Shaneen said, “He is a bombastic dinosaur. He really is from another era. He uses very colourful language.

“It’s shocking for a modern-day politician to compare apartheid to the traffic challenges of Chiswick. It’s so out of touch. They are using language that is disgracing themselves.”

Stephen Clark, the Green Party candidate for Brentford West in next year’s local elections said “In the Borough of Hounslow traffic pollution, high CO2 emissions from motor vehicles and occasional gridlock are all problems. Do the Tories have any solutions to these problems? Because Mr McGregor does not provide any in his blog. The ULEZ and LTN schemes are not perfect and could be improved by discussion with the council and Transport for London, not by lashing out wildly from the side-lines like Mr Giles and Mr McGregor. When will the Tories raise their game and give sensible proposals?"

Jon Elkon, the Hounslow Green Party co-ordinator and author of the novel “Umfaan’s Heroes”, set in South Africa at the time of apartheid, said, “During apartheid millions of people in South Africa were denied proper medical treatment and education and deprived of their human rights, not because of where they lived, but because of their race."

Mr Elkon , who lives in Chiswick, continued, “For Mr McGregor to compare Chiswick residents with the victims of apartheid in South Africa is not only profoundly inaccurate but an insult to millions of South Africans whose lives were blighted by apartheid, including thousands who were detained, tortured and in some cases murdered.”

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service Cllr McGregor defended the language of his party citing the severity of traffic measures in Chiswick.

The outspoken politician also compared traffic measures between Ealing and Hounslow to the Berlin Wall – where at least 140 people were killed in crossing attempts.

He said, “We are in a very bad situation. The language and temperature have gone up.

“I used the word apartheid as Hounslow seems to be preventing people from using their vehicles.

“What I meant were the pass laws. That’s actually what is happening in Chiswick right now.

“The council has no desire to hear what we have to say.”

In 2020, Cllr McGregor warned Hounslow could end up like “Venezuela-on-Thames” if it spent too much money on coronavirus measures.

Cllr McGregor told the Local Democracy Reporting Scheme he does not plan to change his language and plans to submit a vote of no confidence against the council soon.

Jacob Phillips - Local Democracy Reporter

November 4, 2021

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