Sunday 8 May 2016

Pavey challenges Butt for Brent Labour Group leadership

There has been little rest for Brent Labour councillors over the weekend following the news of likely contests for leadership at Saturday's Labour Group AGM.

Michael Pavey will be challenging Muhammed Butt for the leadership.  So far no job has emerged for Butt from Sadiq Khan, but intriguingly Butt's relatives seem to be pushing him as a possible successor in Khan's Tooting constituency.  George Galloway has hinted that he may stand in Tooting - what a combo!

Senior councillors rejected Butt's suggestion for deputy and I understand that a pliable pudding is standing.  Hopefully someone with more credibility will throw their hat into the ring

Sarah Marquis has been a well-informed and independent Chair of Planning, presiding over a committee of lesser talents. As Butt is a champion of Quintain and all its deeds he may push for someone more pliable in that role too.

Ruth Moher has been a low profile lead member for children and families and has frustrated many by her failure to take a firm position on forced academies.  Both Cllr Shama Tatler and Cllr 'Jumbo' Chan as teachers have a keen interest in education although there has been no confirmation either will challenge Moher for the role.

Cllr Eleanor Southwood has had to deal with Cllr Duffy's revelations over alleged Council incompetence at Environment and a contest between the two of them would be interesting.

Regeneration and housing are key areas,  particularly in the light of the GLA campaign and recent controversial regeneration projects, including South Kilburn, and there may be a challenge to Cllr Margaret McLennan based on a failure to stand up to developers on affordable housing provision.

There are a number of others who may come forward including the ambitious Cllr Roxanne Mashari and Cllr Sam Stopp. Stopp has recently made critical comments on the planning consultation procedures in the borough and called for more open and transparent dealings with residents. Matt Kelcher has probably been chair of Scrutiny for too short a period to face a challenge.

Overall however with 56 councillors, the majority of whom as far as the public are concerned are faceless, and because they don't speak at council meetings have little political form (apart from putting their hands up on command), it is hard to know how close Butt's critics are to garnering sufficient votes. 

Ex Cllr James Powney gives his account of the process on his blog LINK

Process in the Labour Group

It may be worth noting the due process in Group meetings, as they appear to have escaped Cllr Butt and possibly others.  Votes are held of all the paid up Labour councillors and no one else.  The vote is by secret ballot, and follows the rules known as "exhaustive ballot".  This means that where there are multiple candidates (as I imagine there would be if Cllr Pavey becomes leader as far as the Deputy Leader post goes), the candidate with the lowest number is elimated and a new vote taken, until somebody get 50% plus one of the votes.

The Group officers (such as Leader and Deputy Leader) are voted on by the whole group, as should other positions such as the Planning Chair and the members of the Executive.  This also applies to the new Deputy Mayor, but the Mayor post is normally taken by whoever was last year's deputy without an election. 

The Scrutiny positions are voted on by the non Executive members (i.e. excluding the Leader, Deputy Leader, Executive and (I think) the Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

Since all these votes are by secret ballot, they can be expected to take a long time and be unpredictable.  My past experience of such elections is that many councillors promise their votes to multiple candidates.  I take it from Cllr Butt's attempts to suspend one of his critics and other rumours I have heard, that he is far from confident of victory.


Anonymous said...

Speaking as a member who canvassed for Labour on Thursday, I was pretty disturbed by how many people said they wouldn't be voting Labour because of Mo Butt.

Navin Shah got the smallest majority of all the AMs, so he must be pretty unhappy with Chairman Mo...

Anonymous said...

Don't believe the lies Mo is spinning. He doesn't have the numbers. Pavey is going to win narrowly. Thank goodness...

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Deputy Leader Michael Pavey , is the most passionate Deputy Leaders I have seen in London. He has shown a great deal of dedication and commitment during his time as Deputy Leader. His recent discrimination review is hailed as excellent, improving equality within the council Cllr Pavey is always out on the doorstep knocking on doors getting the know the people he serves in Barnhill and other important wards of Brent. He has made activists both old and new feel welcomed into the party and be part of the the amazing party that Labour is, I am sure as if elected as leader he will make Brent even greater than it is. Helping the most vulnerable in Brent community by staying to Labour principles.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Pavey wins. Brent should rid itself of corruption, bribery and incompetence, starting with Mo Butt!

Anonymous said...

Butt.. And his lies needs to go!! I don't believe anything he says...

His most recent election campaign focused on plans to build affordable new homes in Brent but yet we are surrounded by UNAFFORDABLE new builds and now MORE new plans have gone ahead for even more unaffordable housing in a working class area, approved by a weak leader who is losing labour valuable voters and upsetting an already annoyed community!!

He poses in photos for opening a new sheltered playground but yet destroys Stonebridge Adventure Playground which had served the community for 46yrs, a valuable asset to such a vulnerable community!

Brent needs a leader who is passionate about the borough and the needs of each and every one of it's residents.
Someone without a bully boy persona, who is approachable by the community and puts their needs first...

Good luck Cllr Pavey

Anonymous said...

Hoping and praying that Pavey wins - we need to rid Brent of corruption and I doubt there will ever be a better and more sincere candidate to do it than him and to take us forward into a stronger and brighter future.

Anonymous said...

Hoping and praying that Pavey wins - we need to rid Brent of corruption and I doubt there will ever be a better and more sincere candidate to do it than him and to take us forward into a stronger and brighter future.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that Wembley Matters is supporting Pavey and think they may want to do some research first. Pavey is part of the Labour faction Progress, the most anti-Corbyn and right wing of them all.

They believe in shrinking the state, mass privatisation of services including academies and welfare for those who deserve it not need it. If you want examples of Progress run boroughs, look at Southwark, Lambeth, Haringey and Newham.

Pavey is not a left winger, he is an ambitious career politician who isn't even from Brent and sees it as a stepping stone.

Becareful what you wish for

Philip Grant said...

Regular readers of Wembley Matters will be aware that I have tried, on a number of occasions, to get Brent Council and its councillors to face up to allegations of misconduct by Cllr. Muhammed Butt.

On the basis of my findings during a detailed consideration of matters arising from the Rosemarie Clarke Employment Tribunal case, the current Leader of Brent Council has some very serious points to answer, but in every case when I have tried to get him to answer them, he has avoided doing so. Hopefully, his actions have now caught up with him!

His fellow councillors cannot claim that they are unaware of the allegations, as I have put them in the public domain, (with help from Martin and this blog site, thank you). Here are a few reminders:-

Two important questions to Cllr. Butt in February 2015, which he failed to answer, including why he was still "protecting" Cara Davani (Director of HR) and Christine Gilbert (interim Chief Executive) when he had known about their misconduct in the Rosemarie Clarke case since at least September 2014 - see:

My challenge to Cllr. Butt's article at the end of July 2015 in the Members' (Mis)Information Bulletin, where he sought to persuade his Council colleagues that Cara Davani was not responsible for the wrongs done to Rosemarie Clarke in the employment Tribunal case - see:

My formal complaint(s) against Cllr. Butt (June to September 2015), alleging breaches of Brent's Members' Code of Conduct on all seven of the general conduct principles, which was blocked by the Council's Monitoring Officer and not referred to Standards Committee - see:


Anonymous said...

Drivel. Check Pavey's register of interests. He is not in Progress. Occasionally Writing for an organisation is not the same thing as being a member. The left-wing Corbynite MP Clive Lewis will be speaking at Progress's AGM on Saturday - does that make him a sell out?

As for "state shrinkage", Pavey's main campaigning issue is defending Sure Start. He's hardly a Blairite.

Martin Francis said...

Reporting Pavey's leadership bid does not mean I support it. Any reader of this blog will know I have been critical of Cllr Butt on a number of issues but I have also criticised Pavey over academies and the employment tribunal case.

On a previous post I mentioned that I had not seen any coherent political programme emerge from those challenging Butt's leadership. This is still the case altough I presume there will be an attempt to do so at the AGM.

I think it would be a disaster if a leadership change was just about leadership style, presenting a friendlier face to the public and more transparency. This was largely the basis of Butt's challenge to Ann John after the libraries PR disaster. Although a friendlier attitude to community library volunteers eventually emerged other severe cuts still went ahead and consultation became meaningless.

Council implementation of government cuts is an issue that I would hope challengers would address. Cllrs Miller, Stopp and Perrin have all signed the People's Assembly letter on fighting austerity and local government cuts through mass camapigning.

Other Councils have taken the lead in challenging the government's plans to force all schools to become academies and I would look to a new lead member and cabinet to support the model resolution on this as well as take active steps to implement its spirt in Brent.

On housing it is clear that regeneration is a major issue with developers getting away with providing the minimum of social housing/affordable housing and residents ignored at the consultation stage. A major change of approach is needed.

I am sure readers can suggest more issues where a change of political strategy is needed.

Anonymous said...

At what point are we allowed to step in and fight this, as members of a community, rather than leaving it to council cronies?

It doesn't make sense! It's like asking the school bullies to tell themselves off for being naughty!

Philip Grant said...

Our elected ward councillors are in post until May 2018, but as their constituents we are entitled to let them know our views on matters which affect the community we live in.

One of those matters is the way in which our local Council is run, and if we are not happy with the integrity of the Leader, that is a concern we are entitled to raise.

So, if you are a Brent resident and have Labour councillors, feel free to write to them with your views (Martin has a "Contact your local councillor" LINK in the right hand column above). I can't promise that they will take any notice, but ...


Jaine Lunn said...

There are so few people actually working for Brent Council, who ever the Labour Party chooses to lead the council wont make the slightest bit of difference to the electorate. All the Council is good at doing is publishing consultation after consultation, strategy after strategy in nice full colour brochures. They even managed to stretch the Borough Plan 2015-2019 to 52 pages with lots of pictures. What a piece of fiction that is especially when reading under the headings "What we aim to achieve by April 2016". I love the fantasy about public realm, and giving the people of brent the greatest opportunity to participate in sport and activities and protecting our parks and green open spaces. That must be why they have closed the youth clubs and community centres, and sold off or given away our green open spaces. "Whilst working in partnership (with Developers) to maximise resources in building a better brent together" (just not with us the residents!

Anonymous said...

Alright Sam.

Anonymous said...

"He isnt even from Brent"
- sounds abit UKIP, most people aren't from Brent originally Anonymous. Do you think Pavey should be sent 'home'?

Anonymous said...

Mikey, what a beautiful post. Wishing you so much luck and hoping you win by a landslide - you are the most sincere councillor in Brent and I know how tirelessly you work to make things better and to give a voice to the disadvantaged in Brent

Nan. said...

Nothing in Brent will change unless councillors get up off their backsides and do some work for a change.

Brent councillors of all hues (and we the public who elect them into office) have allowed the council to be run by officers.

As a wise former councillor told me, people don't blame officers when things go wrong, they blame the elected lot.

Until councillors are prepared to read their papers and understand, both what is in the papers as well as what has been left out of the papers, there will be no improvement.

The agenda of highly paid officers who live outside the borough is generally that of building a career. This doesn't necessarily co-exist comfortably with building sustainable services which involves a lot of donkey work that doesn't add any shininess to a CV geared to moving onward and upward.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rox X