|Kilburn Times October 18th|
With Cllr Abdirazak Abdi proving to be as courageous at revealing the short-comings of Brent Council as his Kilburn ward predecessor Cllr Duffy and Brent Central Constituency Labour Party swinging to the left, this has not been a good week for Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council.
The Kilburn Times LINK followed up my story of a week ago LINK about South Kilburn residents being faced with eviction by the council, without their councillors being informed of a crucial meeting about the issue. Cllr Abdi minced no words when he accused the Labour council of social cleansing.
Abdi is strongly backed by Kilburn Labour Party which is still campaigning over his removal from the Planning Committee by Cllr Butt. Now the Brent Central Labour Party looks as if it too will be a thorn in Butt's side with the left winning all but one officer position in the CLP LINK. Significantly the left filled all 10 places on the Local Campaigns Forum (LCF) which organises councillor selections and election campaigns. The CLP also nominated at 6 left slate candidates for the National Constitutional Committee elections.
The LCF result may be most significant in the long run as it sets priorities for campaigns over the coming period when Butt and his cabinet are putting forward a cuts budget LINK and continuing the council's unhealthy close relationship with developers.
Cllr Butt has been criticised for not doing more to fight the local government cuts and for not signing a key letter protesting against the cuts signed by other council leaders. However, he turned up this week at the Local Government's Association lobby of Downing Street over funding and managed a photo opportunity with Nick Forbes leader of Newcastle Council and the LGA Labour Group.
It will take more than the odd photo opportunity to persuade Butt's critics that he is responding to their concerns.
Hitherto, opposition to Cllr Butt's leadership has been more about his personal leadership style and controlling approach rather than policies. The relationship between Brent Council Labour Group and the three local CLPs (Hampstead & Kilburn, Brent Central and Brent North) in terms of the latters' ability to influence specific policy is ill-defined and the Council leadership have been able to shrug off or ignore critical motions.
The LCF may now become the forum for a battle over the future political direction of the council.