|Cllr Muhammed Butt|
I was unable to attend last night's Brent Standard's Committee Meeting last night as I was chairing a school governing body meeting elsewhere. It appears I missed a fascinating event. I am grateful to Cllr John Warren for providing the following first-hand account. Any views expressed are his own as I was not present.
I had a fascinating evening at last night’s Standards Committee..... it was 50 extraordinary minutes. The only item to discuss was the Penn report on Cllr. Butt - whether he had breached the members' code of conduct in his role in the " Tayo Oladapo " saga?
When I entered the meeting I thought I was in the wrong place, as the public gallery was packed. Why were there so many people here? On closer examination it was more like a Council meeting - not a packed public gallery you understand, but the number of Councilors in attendance.
Cllr.Allie was in the Chair.... as the meeting moved on he contributed very little. I was going to challenge Cllr.Kabir as not being an objective Committee member. I was going to refer to her e-mail to Labour members telling them to " rally round their leader." However, the redoubtable Cllr.Mahmood substituted for her.
I did challenge Cllr.Allie, however, on the grounds that he had been involved twice previously with Cllr.Butt in potential changes in political allegiance...and so was too close to him to be objective. The only response I got from Cllr.Allie was a series of scowls.
The meeting progressed with officers going through Mr. Penn’s report. It seemed that only Cllr. Collier and myself were engaging in this report, although Cllr. Collier was heckled for his efforts. From my position it looked like Cllr. Wilhemina Mitchell-Murray was the main cheerleader.
In my experience Committee chairs take the lead. Not this chair! The report revolved around the meeting of Cllr. Butt and the Labour party official on 2/3/16.
Why did Cllr. Butt specifically ask her to make enquiries about Tao - after all he had all the Council resources available for others to take on this task?
Why did he not follow up on this enquiry- seemingly not being pro-active in finding out what the official had found out? As we know she found out that Tao had died five weeks earlier.
Why did this party official put her career on the line by making her statement?
Eventually, Cllr.Mahmood's contribution was to read verbatim the Penn recommendations. These stated that Cllr.Butt was not in breach of the code of conduct. In doing so, Cllr.Mahmood informed us that he had not read the whole report on which he was about to vote.
Oh yes, I forgot that Cllr.Krupa Sheth was also part of this committee.
The inevitable outcome was that the Penn recommendations were agreed. When it is one person' s word against another with no independent witnesses it is difficult to argue otherwise.
I found the whole exercise an experience I do not wish to repeat, and left with a feeling of sadness that a young Councillor - who died ridiculously too soon - had figured in an unwanted part of Brent Council history.