THE MP for Ongar and Brentwood has demanded Essex County Council look again at its proposal to axe lollipop men and women in the borough.

Eric Pickles said “nothing is more important than children’s safety” and vowed to back schools worried by the plans.

His comments came following pressure by campaigners fighting the council over proposals to cut a number of school crossing patrols across the county.

Several schools in Brentwood are among those affected.

Mr Pickles said: “Nothing is more important than children’s safety. Essex County Council have to make savings but they should look again at their proposals for school crossing patrols.

“I am happy to support any school which contacts me to achieve what it needs to ensure the safety of children walking to school.”

MP Robert Halfon has set up a campaign to stop the cuts in Harlow, prompting Liberal Democrat county councillor David Kendall to challenge Mr Pickles over his stance.

Mr Kendall said: “We are concerned the county council is trying to push the funding burden and responsibility for school crossing patrols onto schools when school budgets are already very stretched.

“Eric Pickles’ Tory colleague in Harlow has launched a campaign to save the school crossings in his constituency, now I want Mr Pickles to do anything similar.”