Cllr Anton Georgiou wrote to Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, three weeks ago to express concern over the impact of the Council Tax rise on low income families. Cllr Butt responded (click on image to enlarge):
This is Cllr Georgiou's letter:
Cllr Butt, Leader of Brent Council, posted this on Twitter this evening:
Butt critices Brent's Lib Dem councillor for not attending many council meetings. It might help if he didn't support a system that blocks cllr Georgiou from being a member of any council committees!!!
I'm really tired of this game that councillors play with the common people as if we are one huge football to be kicked around
while they point the finger at the so called government and blame it for the way they treat us.
Totally agree. I pointed that out on Twitter last night. Cllr Georgiou has addressed the Planning Committee as a ward councillor regarding new developments in Alperton. The Cabinet system keeps Labour backbenchers as well as the opposition out of most decision making. Scrutiny is about the only arena where contributions could be effective but the system that apportions places according to the total number of councillors for each party means that a single councillor for Lib Dems cannot get a place. Present Council is 59 Labour, 3 Conservative and 1 Lib Dem. There is never more than 1 opposition councillor on any committee. A Labour review recently rejected any option to replace the Cabinet system with a Committee system that would give for of a role to ALL councillors.
Haven’t got to be a member of a committee to attend and contribute. Past year never been easier to Zoom in - still nothing from the lad, has there? Bet Martin’s been to more Cabinet meetings than Anton!
Come on - cllrs have plenty of ‘agency’. Tories and Lib Dems could be at every cabinet meeting picking holes if they wanted to. Get that you’re never going to be a fan of a Labour council, but you can’t tell me you’re actually impressed with what anyone in opposition is doing (or not doing, more to the point)?
Have you ever wondered how the Cabinet may have 20 important decisions before them and yet the meeting is over in less than 1 hour with each major item given around 3 minutes of consideration? It is about time that Brent Council cam e clean and explained to the public that before each Cabinet Meeting the Labour Cabinet Members meet in Secret with Council Officers for a 3 to 5 hour meeting where they go through everything in great detail and make their decisions behind closed doors hiding their deliberations from public scrutiny. ALL decisions are there made in advance and the short meeting which takes place in public is just a 'charade' used to rubber stamp decisions already made. Any debate or issues raised by non Cabinet members are ignored and no predetermined decision is ever made. Attending Cabinet Meetings is therefore a totally pointless exercise. As far as Councillor Butt is concerned he clearly needs some Mental Health support to address anger management and megalomaniac issues.
“Attending Cabinet Meetings is therefore a totally pointless exercise.”
What nonsense. Show up, speak up, ask questions, raise points. If you’re right and they’re wrong it’s in the minutes and you have cause for calling in.
Poor attempt at excusing Cllr Georgiou’s blatant lack of effort.
If this is how Cllr Butt addresses an elected local councillor it makes you wonder how he deals with others such as members of staff working at Brent Council who may be unable to complain as they are worried about their jobs?
Cllr Butt sits on the London Councils as Executive member for Welfare, Empowerment and Inclusion: https://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/who-we-are/about-us/organisational-structure-0/executive-and-lead-members - surely his tone in his letter to Cllr Georgiou demonstrates that he’s not the right person for this role?
Cllr Georgiou - we have seen first hand the hard work you’ve done in Alperton, achieving a great deal in your first year - keep up the good work!
Poor attempt by one of the anonymous writers to check their facts.
To call in a Labour Cabinet decision for Scrutiny requires 5 non-Executive Councillors. How clever of Labour
to set the number at 5 as conveniently there are currently only 4 opposition Councillors and if a Labour Councillor rocked the boat they get attacked or sacked from their position by the man in the Dictator's chair.
While I don't think it is my place to raise a complaint in this matter, I think that Councillor Butt needs to remember what the Brent Members' Code of Conduct (in Part 5 of the Council's Constitution) says and includes:
Maintaining High Standards of Conduct -
1. This Code applies to you as a member of Brent Council.
2. You must comply with this Code when you act, claim to act, or give
the impression you are acting as a member of the Council.
3. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are familiar with, and
comply with, this Code.
High Standards of conduct:
4. You must maintain a high standard of conduct.
5. In particular, you must comply with the seven principles of conduct in
public life set out in Appendix 1.
6. You must treat others with respect.
8. You must not bully any person.
12. You must not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or the Council into disrepute.
[My Note - the seven principles of conduct in public life include:
INTEGRITY - You should not place yourself in situations where your integrity
may be questioned, should not behave improperly and should on all occasions avoid the appearance of such behaviour.
ACCOUNTABILITY - You should be accountable to the public for your actions and
the manner in which you carry out your responsibilities, and should co-operate fully and honestly with any scrutiny appropriate to your particular office.
LEADERSHIP - You should promote and support these principles by leadership, and by example, and should act in a way that secures or preserves public confidence.]
And how do you suggest you overcome the “wrongness” of all cabinet members by voicing only one “right” opinion in three minutes, when in actuality, by the words of the previous comment these decisions are predetermined and the public cabinet meetings are just a front?
I am so sick of people trying to defend M. Butt’s behaviour just because he is a Labour Party member. In this case, even if he were a member of any other party, such tone and comments of an official correspondence is deeply inappropriate.
Cllr Georgiou did the only thing he could do, officially ask for clarification around the decision for council tax raise, and instead of providing a concise reply, Cllr Butt is using a tone unbecoming to any person holding a public office, belittling, condescending and borderline bullying.
When the political and factual arguments are nonexistent, he lashed into a personal attack.
This is inexcusable.
Why is no one crying about Cllr Georgiou leafleting Alperton, in the middle of a pandemic where the virus spreads via contact of shared surfaces, let alone at a time where political canvassing is not allowed.
The way I see it, Cllr Butt has simply called Cllr Georgiou out for continuously leading residents on for the sake of his own political career when he really should know better. A year on, there's really no excuse to not know how the council operates around these important topics.
Why is no one asking if it's true that Cllr Georgiou hasn't attended any meetings? Is anyone fact checking this piece that seems to be an open window into how he really represents residents in the council?
He most certainly did not do the only thing he could do. He did the thing he could most readily tweet about.
If you’re looking to grandstand, then yes, perhaps 3mins isn’t very long. But if you put the effort it, you can do a huge amount with the 500 or so words that amount of time allows.
All I’m seeing here are excuses as to why you’re not getting involved. There are no actual barriers - nothing actually preventing you from taking part.
The reality is, if Anton were taking his responsibilities seriously, he’d be attending Cabinet once a month and raising whatever thoughts or concerns he might have on the matters in hand. That he doesn’t, that he has not at any point done so suggests he is either supportive of the council’s work or ignorant of it.
But yes, let’s all focus on why we just don’t like Muhammed Butt very much.
I have checked for you. Cllr Georgiou's record compares well with other backbenchers (ie those who do not have a seat for any of the committee posts which are decided by the Leader/Labour Group). He was expected at 3 meetings, attended 3 meetings and 'in attendance0 at an additional meeting. Many backbenchers were not in attendance at any additional meetings. The 3 meetings are presumably Full Councilo Meetings. Check here: http://democracy.brent.gov.uk/mgUserAttendanceSummary.aspx
A nasty, bullying letter. Butt-enlisted trolls on here are wasting their time. Any decent person can see that this letter is unprofessional and demeaning.
Worth checking the definition of troll. All of the above on all sides seems to be reasonably held opinion/argument. Undermine yourself when you resort to insult.
There have been several call-ins in the last year or two.
He’s been to full council, which he’s required to do. The rest are optional, but no less essential/valuable if you’re serious about holding the council to account.
Look up troll - either in the dictionary or the mirror.
If Anton had been delivering political leaflets I'd be the first to call him out. He hasn;t. There were some letters delivered advising residents of planning applications of which they'd not been notified and others with helpful COVID information. Even Labour councillors have delivered the odd one of those.
As to the current Cabinet system, Paul, Martin and Phillip have documented it well. The Caninet is a mere rubber stamp for decisions taken behind closed doors. Indeed, at the moment, almost all commitees in Brent are an utter waste of time, as witnessed by PLanning decisions.
As a former councillor, I know that even with more opposition councillors than there are at present, the current structure and de facto dictatorship which exists in Brent makes attendance at most meaningless. Members of the public have been shouted down by Butt, let alone his history with any councillor who dares challenge him in any way. Do you actually think he'd allow Anton or anyone else to speak without interuption? Or even speak? Butt's infantile subsequent tweets speak volumes.
It isn't meetings that represent residents, it's the work that's done in communities.
There are decent Leaders out there of all parties. I've a lot of time for Georgia Gould and Andy Burnham. I've none for Butt.
I'm not sure why anyone expressing any kind of support towards Cllr butt is considered a troll. Surely you are responding in the same way Cllr Butt responded to Anton? Make your mind up- are people allowed to express an opinion or not? Or am I going to have to email the chief exec suggesting you all go on anger management training?
Nerve. Touched. Good.
Supposed to do the community work AND the council stuff. The allowance is for being a councillor, not a political activist.
If those two tweets by Butt weren't so symptomatic of his bad temper and arrogance, they'd be laughable. And that's what Brent has become. A laughing stock.
That vaccine letter from his Nan that he’s tweeted looks a lot like political campaigning.
Why on earth is encouraging people from ethnic minority backgrounds to get vaccinated "political campaigning"?
You know, in general, when someone gets piled on like this it's because they've exposed truths that others would prefer to be hidden. Why is Mo so scared of one lone councillor, eh?
What “exposed truths” are you referring to, please?
The thing that’s “scary” is how readily this ‘lone councillor’ has resorted to putting inaccurate information into the public domain, and how quickly they retreat behind claims of bullying when their arguments fall apart when questioned.
It’s Trump-like, and we’ve all suffered as a result of not taking him seriously enough soon enough.
Wembley Matters is starting to resemble Twitter in the sense that certain regular commentators use this blog to fight each other with words.
The spat between Alison Hopkins and Anonymous is an example of what's developing here.
If you wanted to disempower Anton, the surest way would have been to completely ignore him. He’s really got to you, hasn’t he. I wonder why he has such power over you.
Questioning arguments is laudable, backed by evidence. Ad hominems aren’t nor are silly Twitter memes by a council leader.
Trevor, I defend that which I consider ought to be defended, such as the Prospect House people , I use my own name, always.
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