PROTESTORS formed a picket line outside a party being hosted by an MP.

Conservative MP Will Quince hosted the Big Thank You event on Friday, despite calls beforehand to boycott it.

The aim of the party was to thank charities and voluntary groups for their goodwill.

Mr Quince said more than 100 organisations attended.

Colchester Trades Union Council and Colchester People’s Assembly were behind the boycott and protest action, having claimed the event was “hypocrisy” in light of Government cuts impacting so severely on voluntary services and communities in need.

They also said cuts have forced more people to rely on charities which are themselves suffering cuts to funding.

But Mr Quince described the event at the Roman Circus Centre as a “wonderful evening”.

He added: “They organised a picket line with six people outside handing out Christmas cards pretending to be from me.

“Luckily it didn’t affect the event in any way and people had a lovely time. I won’t be put off and will do it again next year.”

A spokesperson for the Colchester Trades Union Council denied it a picket line but said representatives did stage their own “thank you” to give to charities.

She said: “As people arrived we gave them a thank you card for all the work they have been doing over the last year, highlighting all the extra work given by policies of the Conservative party.”

She added: “We didn’t have anyone come back and say anything to us in reaction to what we had given them. I think it was successful.

“The Conservative party are decimating public services, therefore charities are having to step in and do the core work they used to do while they have their own issues with funding.”

Mr Quince has also been criticised by the Colchester Trades Union Council for voting for Government policies which, they said, were “driving more people into homelessness”.

Colchester People’s Assembly blasted the Christmas party as a “pathetic consolation.”

They claimed more people are relying on food banks and Mr Quince voted for a cut in Employment Support Allowances, meaning cancer sufferers face a £30 a week reduction.

It was the third year Mr Quince had run his thank you event.

He has pointed out he donates around £1,000 to charities each year.

Colchester People’s Assembly is a non-party political organisation which campaigns for better public services and against cuts in pay, pensions cuts and benefits.

Colchester Trades Union Council is an umbrella organisation of 12 local trade union and campaigns for workers’ rights and progressive politics.