Thursday 6 October 2016

Pavey resigns from Brent Cabinet over differences with Council Leader Muhammed Butt

Butt & Pavey (left and right) in happier times

Former Brent Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Michael Pavey, has resigned from the Brent Cabinet over differences with Council Leader, Cllr Muhamemd Butt,  over how best to serve residents at a time of 'brutal Tory cuts'.  Pavey contested the Council leadership unsuccessfully in May and was demoted to Lead Member for Stronger Communities.

This is Cllr Pavey's letter to fellow members of the Labour Group:
Dear all,

I am writing to confirm that following much consideration I have tendered my resignation from the Cabinet.

I think it is clear that the Leader and myself have developed differing views regarding how Brent Council can best serve its residents at a time of brutal Tory cuts.

I look forward to working with you all as a backbencher for Barnhill, campaigning hard for another barnstorming Labour victory in 2018 and continuing my national work to protect Sure Start Children's Centres.

With best wishes,

Cllr. Michael Pavey
Labour Councillor for Barnhill
Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, Brent Council
Differences may well have arisen as the Coucil prepares its budget for 2017-18 and submits a 4 year Action Plan as a consequence of agreeing to a freeze in the Revenue Support Grant.

It  will be interesting to see if opposition to Cllr Butt's approach coalesces around Pavey.


Anonymous said...

What a shame.
Respect to Cllr Pavey for his dignified announcement.
The sad thing is, Brent council and our residents have lost a real genuine member of the cabinet, basically; he's not corrupt!!
His heart was and still is with residents and what's best for them all.
Butt can now carry on with his money making project in Wembley Park, can carry on with his corruption and bullying...
Let's hope his next opposition is as decent as Pavey!!

All the best Cllr Pavey!

Anonymous said...

Late-onset integrity?

Anonymous said...

Anyone at the Brent Labour AGM will have seen those differing views laid bare. The gulf in vision between Pavey and Butt was frankly embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

I used to be an officer at Brent. I left because of the bullying and the cliqueyness. No one is perfect but Pavey was always approachable and genuinely seemed to listen. Most councillors just glide along, lost in their own self-importance

Nan. said...

One has to wonder, Anon 19.19.......

.......and is there any connection to the rumours of egg on Cllr Pavey's face over statements made at the Cllr O standards investigation?

Interesting times, interesting timing.

Martin Francis said...

Edited comment from Anon: Time for another leadership challenge? Bloody hope so! Butt is XXXX, with Quintain's interests above Brent's. Butt's Brent is in tatters.

Philip Grant said...

I had noticed a strange entry on the Agenda page for the Standards Committee meeting on 22 September, before reading your comment, Nan.

Under item 4 (Consideration of Members' Code of Conduct Complaint) the following sentence has been added retrospectively to the agenda:-
'*Please note that a paragraph was removed within section 3.8 of the attached report on 30 September 2016 following confirmation from Cllr Pavey on 28 September 2016 that it was incorrect.'

Section 3.8 of Richard Penn's report contained the evidence given to his independent investigation by Cllr. Pavey, and the relevant extract now reads:-
‘As a member of the Labour Group Executive I was one of the original recipients of the whistle blowing email. My reaction was to forward it to the Council Chief Executive and to seek a meeting with the Labour Chief Whip.

The Chief Executive replied confidentially to request that the Council be involved in any Labour Party inquiry. The Chief Whip told me "she thought the Group Chair should respond." I thought this was a strange reaction to such serious allegations from such a trusted source. I felt that this was an abdication of her responsibilities.

Paragraph removed on 30 September 2016 following confirmation from Cllr. Pavey on 28 September 2016 that it was incorrect.’

So what was the "incorrect" paragraph? Luckily, I had kept a copy of the full report, so can include it here for information:-
‘A few days later the Chief Whip emailed all Labour Cllrs telling us "rally round the Leader". I felt that this refusal to take seriously allegations from such a trusted source fundamentally compromised both her professionalism and her integrity.’

Was Cllr. Pavey mistaken in saying that Cllr. Kabir's email telling Labour Group members to "rally round the Leader" was in response to the allegations made against Cllr. Butt in the leaked email? Or was it that Cllr. Kabir did not send an email telling them to "rally round the Leader"?

Perhaps a member of Brent's Labour Group could let "Wembley Matters" readers know the answer, please (anonymously, if necessary)? After all, when Cllr. Butt took over as Leader in 2012 he did say that under him the Council would be open and transparent!


Nan. said...

Great detective work, Philip. Yet another question that needs answering.....

Philip Grant said...

... and here is the answer, Nan. There are still some Brent councillors who are willing to be open and transparent.

Michael Pavey has given me the following clarification (which I am publishing with his permission), to explain what happened over his evidence in Richard Penn's report:
'The Chief Whip did indeed send round an email encouraging us to "rally round the Leader." However she sent this regarding the antisemitic material he had shared, not regarding Cllr Oladapo. I wrote my submission to Penn in one sitting and in this matter my chronology was incorrect by a number of days. When this was pointed out to me I felt it would be appropriate to make an amendment to my evidence. I wanted to correct an error and certainly it had absolutely nothing to do with my resignation.'

Nan. said...

Well, it's good that Cllr Pavey has issued the clarification because otherwise as things stood, his original statement was a rather poor reflection on the Chief Whip in my view.

Hopefully also, councillors (and indeed officers) will take note of the importance of giving accurate statements to inquiries.

Anonymous said...

She doesn't come out of the new version much better

Nan. said...

Perhaps not, Anon 08.57.

It is precisely when a statement may be likely to cast aspersions on another - justified or otherwise - that that statement must avoid error.