Monday 3 September 2018

Kilburn Labour Party is standing up for democracy on behalf of local people

There was a pretty astonishing letter in last week's Brent and Kilburn Times. It came from Paul Scott, Secretary of the Kilburn (Brent) Labour Party and was about the sacking of Cllr Abdirazak Abdi, a Kilburn Labour Councillor, from the Brent Planning Committee.

Scott pulled no punches:

Cllr Abdi Abdirazak, a newly-elected Kilburn councillor, was sacked from Brent Planning Committee on July 9 by the Brent council leader (“Sacked for voting the wrong way”).
Cllr Abdi and the Kilburn Labour Party believe this happened because he “voted the wrong way” on a number of planning applications, but our attempts to find out more have failed because the council leader Cllr Muhammed Butt has refused to answer questions at local meetings, and has so far not responded to my invitation to discuss the background.

Instead he has ducked, dived and backtracked (at one point asserting that Cllr Abdi was on another committee – not true).

The bigger issue here is not how one council leader can avoid accountability, but about ensuring Brent’s committee appointments are transparent and accountable to the electorate.

If an elected councillor, representing local residents can be removed from a committee against his will and with no satisfactory explanation, how can we be sure this isn’t how many our Brent committees are managed – with a disregard for accountability and due process?

Clearly the whole Brent committee system needs a close look – this latest incident is worrying for local democracy.
I warned before the local election that Brent was in danger of becoming a 'one party state' with Cllr Butt gathering even more power to himself.  His antipathy towards Kilburn showed itself in his dealings with Cllr John Duffy who asked too many well-researched awkward questions about the running of the council's waste services and Cllr Butt's dealing with developers and he has been impatient with Labour Party members who lived on South Kilburn Estate who pursued issues over the regeneration and in particular the Council's decision to persuade HS2 to locate a vent shaft next to housing and a primary school, rather than on more suitable land next to Queens Park station.

Although Paul Scott says the bigger issue is not how one council leader can avoid accountability,  his description of Cllr Butt's ducking, diving and backtracking is exactly what Brent residents have encountered, particularly notable in his dealings with the Stonebridge community over the closure of Stonebridge Adventure Playground.

Butt looked unassailable after his crushing of other parties at the Council election  and it is to the credit of Kilburn Labour Party that there are at least some members who are prepared to talk truth to power.  They deserve our support whether we belong to another political party or are not a member of any. 

In the absence of any effective opposition on the Council they are standing up for us.



Anonymous said...

Well done Paul Scott, and Kilburn Labour, for standing up to Butt on this issue.

As Labour has a huge majority on Brent Council, it is up to Labour councillors, and Labour Party members, to hold the Labour Cabinet, and its Leader, to account.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree! Especially about his decision on Stonebridge....local people are being shifted out,
theres a bad policy going on here

Anonymous said...

'shifted' or shafted?