Monday 21 November 2016

Lib Dems down to zero on Brent Council and Tories play political musical chairs

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
Joel Davidson after his recent attack on Tory Leader John Warren announced that he was moving to the Kenton Tory Group who now (for how long?) have 4 members to Brondesbury Park's 2. At one point the Kenton Tories were split 2-2 on a vote so three Tory groups may not be faraway.

Tories Kansagra, Davidson, Colwill and Maurice
I am not clear who is now the leader of the opposition, if wonder if the Tories are?

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'...


Anonymous said...

Cllr Joel Davidson has joined the Group that is not even recognised by his own party Head Office. I wonder what position he has been given in the new group. Must be a lucrative one with more special responsibilty allowance.

Philip Grant said...

This is the explanation given by Cllr. Carr, as reported in an updated article on the "Kilburn Times" website:

'Cllr Carr, who has a doctorate in Anthropology and is a research Associate of the University of Oxford’s School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, said: “I worked with Sarah Teather on the education review, and when I returned from Papua New Guinea in 2013 I was asked to stand as a councillor.

“I’d never given it much thought before and I thought yes, why not. I did the work and to their horror and my surprise not only did I get in but I was the only one who got in.

It’s not about status, it’s about what you can do and as an Independent councillor I can continue my human rights work and protection of minority groups.

“Historically, groups I work with such as Gypsies, Irish Travellers and Roma have suffered deprivation, discrimination and in the Roma case especially, persecution and genocide. Those times are upon us again. I look forward to working with all political parties.”