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Hopping mad

PUBLISHED: 16:28 13 March 2007 | UPDATED: 08:53 21 July 2010

Town hall chiefs have been forced to scrap the annual trip to the borough s French twin town as the entente between the two threatens to become anything but cordiale...

Town hall chiefs have been forced to scrap the annual trip to the borough's French twin town as the entente between the two threatens to become anything but cordiale.

Hackney civic representatives have long enjoyed the hospitality of their French cousins in Suresnes, a suburb of Paris.

In return, residents of Suresnes have swapped their country's capital for a stay in Hackney.

However, that all looks about to change after a disgruntled Jean Louis Testud, the deputy mayor of Suresnes, said he no longer intends to host Hackney Council representatives at the town's Festival des Vendanges in October.

In a letter to Joe Kittinger, the president of Hackney's EU Twinning Committee, he said: "It is out of the question this year to invite representatives of the town to Hackney to our Festival des Vendanges.

"Last year, they had the cheek to ask for an invitation, while insisting that they were incapable of giving us an invite.

"Again, this year, they have asked for an invitation without for one second considering giving us one in return."

Anger at what Mr Testud referred to as "the stupidity of the position of the town hall" has soured the 35-year relationship between the two towns.

Mr Kittinger, of Navarino Road, Dalston, said: "The French have been very generous in the past and it costs a lot of money for three or four days in Paris with the trips and everything.

"If the council says we don't feel we should do it because we have other priorites now, it should say so."

Monsieur Testud added: "It's especially regrettable because we are living in a time when it is important that young people from different communities can spend time together, so they can learn from each other and set up a climate of exchange and knowledge."

A Hackney Council spokeswoman said: "The council is aware of the correspondence from the deputy mayor of Suresnes and will respond accordingly."

She added that Suresnes was thanked for 30 years of twinning arrangements at an event in May, 2003.

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