|Lib Dem councillor Helen Carr introduces herself to Tim Farron
Tonight's Brent Council meeting began with an announcement that the only Lib Dem councillor had decided to become an Independent - ending Lib Dem representation on a Council where they were once senior partner in a Coalition with Paul Lorber as their leader. Carr gave no explanation to the meeting but celebrated her independence by abstaining on most of the votes that took place tonight.
|My prediction before the meeting
|Tories Kansagra, Davidson, Colwill and Maurice
Davidson, the only person who comes close to a Brent Council version of Hugh Grant, was in his element making drawling contributions to the meeting but Cllr Warren once more provided the only real opposition.
Warren raised the fact that the Brent Development Plan hadn't been legally compliant at the time of its approval by the Council and had only been saved by suggested modifications from the Planning Inspector. He cited the Auditor's acceptance of 5 objections to Brent Council's accounts for further investigation as extremely unusual with most local authority accounts sailing through through the process without challenge.
Perhaps his most powerful intervention was in a motion calling for the CEO to prepare a report on the possibility of Brent returning to a Committee system of governance for consideration by the Full Council. He explained that only eight people, the Cabinet, were really involved in decision making and the other 55, of all parties, excluded.
Warren suggested that the South Kilburn Granville debacle would not have happened if a cross-party committee had examined the proposal.
Rather than actually debating the merits of the proposal Cllr Butt, Labour leader, denounced it as a political ploy to 'take us back to the 80s' and his councillors duly voted it down.
Cllr Warren during the debate had said he had heard that the Labour Group held 'votes on whether to vote' but one of their number told me afterwards that they seldom had votes at all - 'everything is decided by acclamation'...