Essex

Essex libraries row: Councillor's 'sick and tired' comment criticised

Library protest Image copyright Debbie Burrows
Image caption Children and parents joined protests against closure plans for Essex's libraries

A county councillor who said he was "sick and tired" of a debate over the future of a town's library has been criticised by campaigners.

In a leaked email Carlo Guglielmi also said campaigners for Manningtree Library in Essex could "wrap the damn thing in aspic and be done with it".

Save Our Libraries Essex (SOLE), which fought a closure programme, said he had shown "a lack of respect" for voters.

Mr Guglielmi apologised to "those genuine people I might have offended".

Essex County Council reversed a decision to close 25 of 74 libraries in July but said it wanted volunteers to run some smaller branches.

Image copyright Debbie Burrows
Image caption Campaigners have criticised Carlo Guglielmi's comments

"I am sick and tired of the whole library issue," Mr Guglielmi said in an email exchange with Susan Barker, the council's cabinet member responsible for libraries, about an offer to take over the running of the library, which was leaked to SOLE.

"I did find a very good solution which a small hardcore of the community do not want to be pursued and as far as I am concerned they can wrap the damn thing in aspic [savoury jelly] and be done with it."

The Conservative councillor has since said he had tried to find a "sustainable" future for the library and respected campaigners.

"I would apologise to those genuine people I might have offended, but not those who are politically motivated and trying to discredit me. I will not apologise to them in a million years," he said.

He added he would not step down as a county councillor for Manningtree despite SOLE saying he should be "considering his position" having shown "such a lack of respect for his constituents".

The group added its supporters who had voted for Mr Guglielmi "will feel both shocked and insulted".

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