TWO councillors have submitted formal complaints over what they claim was Tory “hijacking” tactics during an important meeting.

Michael Hoy and James Newport submitted complaints to Rochford Council.

The claims centre on an allegation that conservative councillors hijacked a “carbon neutral by 2030” motion as their own and used “unfair tactics” during the meeting on July 16.

Mike Steptoe, leader of Rochford council, has been accused by the councillors of “forcing a vote and producing an identical document to which the opposition presented earlier on”.

Mr Hoy, a Green party councillor for Hullbridge, told the Echo: “We were essentially forced to vote for their motion.

“Their plan was virtually identical to the one which councillor Adrian Eves presented to them at the same meeting.

“They rejected it outright without any consideration.

“They also gave us no time to read through their motion, we asked them for ten minutes to take a look. Every single one voted against this.

“It wasn’t fair.

“Judging by their social media posts they seem to have taken all credit for the plan.

“[Mr] Steptoe stated weeks before that he would be inclusive of all parties. This certainly wasn’t.”

Mike Wilkinson, an independent councillor for Wheatley ward, added: “If residents had been there, there would have been an outcry.

“I’ve totally backed the complaints.

“There was no fairness at all.

“I couldn’t see the difference between the two but they refused to allow us to see what their version was.

“If this carries on then there would be zero point in attending, we’ve got no hope of influencing anything.

“I am disgusted, it was an absolute shambles.

“They’re elected to represent the residents but party politics got in the way.”

Mr Steptoe responded: “I’ve been made aware that complaints have been made.

“There were similarities but they weren’t the same.

“I took advice on how to present the motion and I adhered to that advice.”

A Rochford Council spokesman confirmed “a number of complaints about the council meeting on 16 July” have been received, adding: “These are currently being considered.

“All complaints are taken seriously.”