A Conservative councillor has told a council meeting that she was airbrushed out of an edition of the controversial weekly council newspaper, Greenwich Time.
The claim was made by councillor Eileen Glover during a debate at Wednesday night's full meeting of the council at Woolwich Town Hall.
The councillor for the Eltham South ward told the meeting that she had ensured she was in all the photos taken by Greenwich Time at an event in her ward attended by the Council Leader but by the time it went to print, she had been "airbrushed out".
She was only able to make an appearance in a later edition by changing her hair so that she was unrecognisable to the Leader of the Council, she said.
The debate over Greenwich Time was prompted after Greenwich Conservatives put forward a motion calling for weekly production of the newspaper to be ended.
Cllr Nigel Fletcher (Conservative, Eltham North) questioned whether the newspaper offered value for money and asked if it could really be considered a "front line service". He expressed his doubts over the impartiality of the publication before mocking the content in this week's edition.
"Is it really a core function of this council to provide, for example, a review of Toy Story 3? Do we really have a duty to inform our residents ... that Prince's new album is his most 'soulless yet'?", he asked. He said ending the weekly printing of Greenwich Time would be an "easy cut".
Cllr Maureen O'Mara (Labour, Greenwich West) commented that Greenwich Time's council property pages were "very important" to residents who wanted to move, describing it as providing an "essential service" for those that couldn't or wouldn't get the information online.
Cllr Dermot Poston (Conservative, Eltham North) told colleagues that he regarded it as a "political newspaper" and that he "bitterly resents" it. He said the ruling party have "lost any sense of fairness and democracy".
Cllr Matt Clare (Conservative, Eltham South) used his maiden speech at a full council meeting to say how he would frequently see "No Greenwich Time" notices whilst going door to door during the election campaign. He asked why only Greenwich and Tower Hamlets were delivering newspapers on a weekly basis if it had "such demonstrable benefits".
Cllr John Fahy (Labour, Woolwich Riverside) reminded fellow councillors that the Conservatives "fought the election on the arguments of Greenwich Time and lost". He criticised local freesheet, the News Shopper, for printing "10 pages of stories in Lewisham and beyond, and perhaps 2 or 3 stories about the community in Greenwich". He said that in raising the issue, it was "payback time" for the opposition because during the election, the "News Shopper was the extension of Conservative news".
West Greenwich councillor, David Grant (Labour) also suggested that he had been "airbrushed out" of a Greenwich Time photo but said that because of the cabinet system of the council, it was inevitable most of the coverage would be on the executive although he said would like to see more backbenchers featured.
The Leader of the Council, Cllr Chris Roberts (Labour, Glyndon), said that in strict terms, Greenwich Time is "not a political newspaper" and nor could it be according to the law. In fact, council lawyers check it line by line before it goes to print, he revealed.
Cllr Roberts said the paper was "very close to being self financing" and that the cost of producing it had fallen from 22p per copy to just 3.5p per copy. "We are already making significant savings which run into the hundreds of thousands of pounds", he added.
He said it was "absolutely right that we should prioritise our spending" but printing Greenwich Time meant the Council was "able to deliver statutory notices almost at no cost".
The Conservative motion was defeated.