This afternoon the Audit and Standards Committee will be asked to note the complaints received by Brent Council against councillors. The Annual Standards Report LINK 2020 states:
During 2020, 11 complaints were received against different Councillors for alleged breaches of the Members Code of Conduct. Of these complaints, two resulted in public apologies being made on the Brent Council’s website as follows.
a) The first apology resulted from an upheld complaint arising from the sharing of a link to a video discussion on the Dudden Hill Mutual Aid Group WhatsApp group. It was held to be in breach of paragraph4 (high standards), para 5 (seven principles of conduct in public life and para 12 (conduct... in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or the council into disrepute) of the Member’s Code of Conduct.
b) The second apology arose in relation to the attendance of two councillors at Ealing Road Temple during a prayer and reflection event. The complaint, that the councillors had brought their office into disrepute, was not upheld but both councillors acknowledged they had inadvertently breached the restrictions on such events in place at the time and were apologetic about how this may have appeared to the public.
The first apology refers to Cllr Aslam Choudry (Labour, Dudden Hill) who was alleged to have shared anti-semitic material. The final decision notice on the allegation can be read HERE
The second complaint was against Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council and Cllr Sangani (Labour, Alperton) and resulted in the apology below:
Apologies by Cllrs. M Butt and Sangani
Allegations were recently made of a breach of the Member’s Code of Conduct by Councillor M Butt and Cllr Sangani in relation to their attendance at Ealing Road Temple during a prayer and reflection event organised by the Brent Multi Faith Forum. An allegation that the councillors had brought their office or the council into disrepute was not upheld. Both councillors acknowledged that they had inadvertently breached the restrictions on such events in place at the time and were apologetic about how this may have appeared to the public. Councillor Butt apologised both on his Facebook page and in a press statement. Both he and Councillor Sangani have also given apologies to the Monitoring Officer, relevant extracts of which are set out below.
Apology from Councillor Butt:
On the 11th of June, Cllr Trupti Sangani and I attended a small and socially distanced gathering at the Ealing Road Temple in support of Brent’s Multi Faiths Forum. …………..As Leader of this Council, whilst I do of course accept that a mistake was made regarding the time between what happened and what was sanctioned, I do believe that an argument could be made for the actions of those in attendance being a positive demonstration of well-intended community leadership. …………… the idea that such a gesture would upset anyone had simply not occurred to me for which I am happy to apologise unreservedly.
Apology from Cllr Sangani:
On the 11th of June, I attended a small and socially distanced gathering at the Ealing Road Temple in support of Brent’s Multi Faiths Forum. ……………………I regret that in the confusion surrounding various government announcements that we were mistaken in how our brief moment of quiet reflection unfolded. I ……………. would like to apologise to them for what was a honest mistake made in good faith by well-intentioned people.
There are no details of the other complaints in the report.