SOUTHEND COUNCIL has apologised to protesters who were forced to remove t-shirts bearing the slogan "Scrap The Cabinet".

Southend Council issued the apologies for the "inaccuracies" of an original statement, which claimed protesters Mark Sharp, Patsy Link and Sheena Walker had been given a choice of covering up the slogans or leaving the meeting.

But the protesters had always argued that they were never given the option, leaving them sitting half naked for the meeting in the Civic Centre on February 28.

In a letter signed by leader of the council Nigel Holdcroft, and the chief executive, Rob Tinlin, the authority apologised for the original statement issued on March 1, which quoted council facilities manager Gary Cullen.

In the apology, Mr Holdcroft and Mr Tinlin said:

"In assisting the press with a swift response, some inaccuracies appeared in the council's statement.

"This is regrettable and we wish to apologise to you for this.

"As a result of your complaint, we can confirm that we are reviewing the way we issue press statements."

The letter was issued after the protesters and some councillors had complained about the incident.

Ms Link was left wearing just a bright pink bra, so had to keep her heavy winter coat on for the duration of the meeting.

Mr Sharp was left stripped to the waist.

After their t-shirts were removed from them, the campaigners sported black gags "to highlight the lack of democracy in local Government."