|Cllr Allie at Full Council February 22nd|
One nomination, if true, is particularly audacious - that of Cllr James Allie who sat reading the Catholic Herald through much of the budget setting meeting on February 22nd, which included discussion of the impact of cuts to services.
A complaint was made to Fiona Alderman who replied:
I have considered the complaint under the Members’ Code of Conduct complaints procedure and have consulted the Independent Person, the Chief Whip and the Chief Executive. In all the circumstances, I have decided that on this occasion your complaint does not warrant any further action under the Code of Conduct. I have, however, reported your complaint to the Chief Whip for the Labour Group and written to Councillor Allie to advise him that the conduct you complained of must not be repeated.Cllr Butt has apparently nominated Cllr Allie to be chair of the Standards Committee which may well be charged with responding to complaints about Cllr Butt's conduct over the Tayo Oladapo case as well as the double Planning Committee shenanigans. Sandra Kabir, the Chief Whip who managed the Cllr John Duffy case, is nominated as Vice Chair. Other members are Cllr Krupa Sheth and Cllr Tatler.
Cllr Allie has been a staunch Butt supporter following his defection from the Lib Dems and was one of the few to support Butt's bid to end elelctions for Deputy Leader.
Although Allie was never charged with any offence in a 2011 fraud case, he was referred to the borough solicitor for not declaring an interest by the then Labour leader Ann John. At the time Allie was a Lib Dem councillor for Alperton and chaired the budget scrutiny committee. LINK
Krupa Sheth is a close relative of Cllr Ketan Sheth and replaces Bernard Collier who one councillor said was known to 'ask tough questions'.
Many observers thought Cllr Liz Dixon, a woman of principle, would have been a more independent occupant of the position.
The chairs of the two Scrutiny Committees elected on Saturday are Matt Kelcher and Ketan Sheth. Kelcher is the chair of the present single Scrutiny Committee and Sheth previously chaired Planning.
Sarah Marquis was elected as Chair of the Planning Committee. She was interrupted mid-speech on Saturday by applause when she promised that she would be politically independent in the role. Cllr Agha was challenged to distance himself from Cabinet pressure if he got the role but replied that it was important that all members contribute to the Planning Committee, including the Council leader.
The leadership are claimed to have ignored Marquis' plea that the process of appointing members to the Planning Committee should be opened up to reassure the public that there was not a lack of independence from councillors which would open up claims of political interference in the Committee's work.
I understand that one Cabinet candidate, who was not elected to a position, when asked which other council they admired, replied 'Tower Hamlets.'
Given Cllr Butt's narrow majority for leader and the tied vote for deputy it is not certain that his nominations will get through this evening but doubtless considerable pressure will be applied on individual councillors.