Tuesday 28 May 2024

Cllr Muhammed Butt loses his cool when petitioner wants to make a point of order at Brent Cabinet. Bobby Moore Bridge Mural to be covered by advertising.

 Note: An earlier video has been replaced by this Brent Council video which has better sound quality.

Philip Grant, a regular contributor to Wembley Matters, who has no party political affiliation, presented a 100 signature plus petition to Brent Cabinet today setting out the case for the permanent display of the Bobby Moore Bridge tile mural. See LINK for details.

Council Leader Muhammed Butt made a brief response and then after asking for contributions  from Cabinet colleagues (there were none) put only one Option forward with no show of hands from Cabinet members. This was the option to cover the mural with advertising.

When Philip Grant tried to raise a point of order on this (4.20) above Cllr Butt refused to hear the point of order.

As it is hard to hear the point of order on the video I asked Philip what he had been attempting to say when shouted down: 

The point of order that I went to the public speaker's microphone to make was that the Leader had declared the Officer recommendation approved when not a single Cabinet member had put a hand up to show that they accepted the recommendation.

I then added the second point (which I'd already advised him of in my open email a week before), that the decision the Cabinet was meant to make was either Option A or Option B, and they had not been given the opportunity to vote on both options.



Anonymous said...

Love Phillip Grant - what a legend and thorn in their side.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Thanks Phillip and Martin for keeping us updated. It's about time this Council (and particularly it's leader) were reported to the Local Authority Ombudsman for Maladministration.

Anonymous said...

Very disrespectful behaviour from our Brent Council Leader towards Philip Grant who is a very well respected member of our local community.

Philip was presenting a petition signed by other members of our local community so Cllr Butt's behaviour is disrespectful to those people to.

If this is how Cllr Butt behaves at a Brent Council meeting which is being recorded imagine how he behaves towards fellow Brent Councillors, Brent Council staff and his family members on a daily basis in private???

Philip Grant said...

Just a quick comment for now!

If you listen carefully, towards the end of Martin's video when Cllr. Butt is trying to shut me up, you will hear a male voice from the sidelines (either Cllr. Nerva or the Governance Officer, I'm not sure which) call out 'there is a point of order'.

The Council Leader ignores this, just as he ignored the point of order I was trying to raise, without explaining why he would not accept that point of order (from a participant in the meeting on that subject) or why he did not conduct the voting (there was none!) on the decision fairly.

Anonymous said...

Disgraceful outburst (and not the first ) from Cllr Butt showing here quite clearly why he should not be Leader of Brent Council.

Anonymous said...

That Butt bloke is truly appalling and an embarressment to Brent and the Labour Party

Anonymous said...

It reminded me of this article recently published in the Guardian:

"Wembley has lost that loving feeling, a corporate nirvana missing its soul."


Nan. said...

Another way is to ask for a recorded vote.

claremounties said...

"Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Anonymous said...

Dear Nan, Butt is purposely deaf to such suggestions

Philip Grant said...

Dear Anonymous (28 May at 17.22),

Thank you for your "love".

A close relative often asks me why I bother being a 'thorn in the side' of Brent Council. It only gets their backs up, and means they will always oppose whatever I say, regardless of its merits.

She is probably right!

But what is the alternative? Do you just lie down and let them walk all over you?

If you don't stand up for what you believe in, and speak out when you feel strongly about something the Council is doing that does not seem right, you allow them to get away with the positive "spin" on every bit of publicity that comes out of the Civic Centre.

Philip Grant said...

Dear Anonymous (28 May at 17.22),

Thank you for your comment. For the Local Government Ombudsman to get involved, there first needs to be a complaint made to the Council, which has not been satisfactorily resolved through the Council's own complaints procedures.

I'm sure that if a complaint is made in this case, Martin will ensure that you can read about it on "Wembley Matters" - so keep following his blog!

Philip Grant said...

I'm sorry, Anonymous (28 May at 15.38) - I put the wrong time on my reply to you!

Anonymous said...

Question to Philip: Is the decision judicially reviewable given the proper process was not followed?

Anonymous said...

Cllr Butt is never cool, so he can't lose it

Paul Lorber said...

It is perfectly in order to disagree with Philip Grant on this and any other issue.

It is NOT in order to be rude and disrespectful to him and to anyone else who makes the effort to present a case on behalf of local people to the Cabinet or the Council.

Councillor Butt may not agree but we are still a free and democratic country where it is possible to hold a different point of view.

Philip Grant attended Cabinet and presented a reasoned case.

It would have been perfectly in order for Councillor Butt or any other Labour Councillor present to make an equally reasoned case which differed or opposed Philip's position.

As the Cabinet was presented with two options it would also have been perfectly reasonable for the Leader to call for a vote on both options. This would have made the decision absolutely clear.

As other have commented the outburst from Councillor Butt is nothing unusual
and others (including other Councillors) have been treated in the same way. The Brent Chief Executive is aware of this and should now take action.

Brent Council should send Philip Grant an apology.

The Brent Labour Council Group should also apologise and send their Leader on an anger management course.

As a local Councillor I am ashamed at the image of Brent being created by the Labour Leader's behaviour.

Anonymous said...

We love you Philip, without you they would have got away with trampling all over our heritage and history.

Anonymous said...

Bent Council is now a Dictatorship, exclusive to Mo Butt and his growing family of Councillors.

Philip Grant said...


I received the following email, unsigned but from the address of Brent's Chief Executive, Kim Wright, this afternoon.

I thought you might be interrested to read it, as it "explains" the voting process which took place at yesterday morning's Cabinet meeting, and which prompted my "point of order":

'Dear Mr Grant,

I noted that you spoke again at the Cabinet meeting at the conclusion of the item that you had spoken to at the beginning of the meeting, in relation to there not being a show of hands in relation to the decision.

For clarification, Members were not required to vote in this way, and they were not being asked to make a choice between Option A or Option B. If you refer to the recommendations, you will note that it says that Cabinet was asked to approve option B. The Leader gave the opportunity to the other Cabinet Members to comment on the report and its recommendations, therefore opening up the report for debate.

Following this, and as Chair, the Leader was able to then move the recommendations in the usual fashion. The Leader asked for confirmation that the other Members were in agreement with the recommendations and the agreement was unanimous through a verbal process, rather than a show of hands.

I hope that this explanation clarifies the procedure for you.

Kind regards'

Philip Grant said...


This is the reply I sent this afternoon to Brent's Chief Executive, in response to the email which I shared under "FOR INFORMATION" above:

'Dear Ms Wright,

Thank you for your email. I note the explanation given, but regret that I can't accept it.

You are aware of the open email which I sent to Cllr. Butt on 20 May, with copies to you and members of the Cabinet, about the need for voting on the advertising lease award not only to be fair, but seen to be fair. The text of that open email is in the public domain, not least on the letters page of the "Brent & Kilburn Times" on 23 May.

Cllr. Butt did not reply to my email, and did not mention it when he came to speak to me informally just before the start of Monday morning's meeting. Instead, he went ahead and deliberately did the opposite of what was required.

I would also refer you to this extract from the introduction to the Officer Report, which makes clear that you personally had indicated that there needed to be a decision between the two options, A and B:

[As I can't include the illustration in this comment, it showed part of para. 1.2 from introduction to the Officer Report to Cabinet meeting on 28 May 2024. The sections I'd highlighted read: 'It was agreed by the Chief Executive that the final award decision should be made by Cabinet. ... a decision between the two options below.']

You have written:

'The Leader asked for confirmation that the other Members were in agreement with the recommendations and the agreement was unanimous through a verbal process, rather than a show of hands.'

There was definitely no show of hands, but a 'verbal process' suggests that Cabinet members spoke their agreement.

There was silence. There was no vote. There was no evidence of agreement at the meeting, other than Cllr. Butt claiming that the recommendation had been agreed.

I hope this explanation clarifies my response to your email. Best wishes,

Philip Grant.'

Anonymous said...

Hopefully a report to the Labour NEC will sort him out

Philip Grant said...

Dear Anonymous (29 May at 11.52),

Brent's Chief Executive is adamant that the proper process was followed - see the text of the email she sent me in my comment headed "FOR INFORMATION".

The "decision" might be eligible for Judicial Review, but if I tried that route the Council would spend tens of thousands of pounds of our Council Tax money on a KC to try and win the case.

Plus I'm afraid that I am past the age when I have the energy for fighting High Court cases - they take so much time and effort to prepare, even before the legal battle in court. I know this from personal experience during my working life, 20 to 25 years ago!

I'm sorry if this is a disappointing answer to your question.

Philip Grant said...

Unfortunately, in this case they have "got away with it" for another four years.

I am loathe to blame Brent's Labour councillors as a whole for this, because some of them were actually supporting the effort to get the tile murals in the subway back on public display.

One of them wrote to me after the meeting to say "This is disappointing"

.I agree, but the way in which it was done by their Leader, and the way that their colleagues on the Cabinet allowed him to do it, is more than just disappointing.

Anonymous said...

Disappointing attitude and behaviour from elected members. No excuses!

Anonymous said...

Diane Abbott says here "I am so shocked. And so alarmed about what is going on. Because it is as if you are not allowed to be a Labour MP unless you're prepared to repeat everything the leader says"

Sounds just like Brent Council!

Is coercive control (an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim) now an accepted Labour Party trait?

Anonymous said...

Cllr Butt suggests that Philip should stop embarrassing himself but Instead it’s Cllr Butt who is actually quite clearly embarrassing himself by openly displaying bullying and controlling behaviour towards a respected member of the public who is trying to make a valid point on behalf of the residents who signed the petition he was presenting.

Cllr Butt needs to apologise and an investigation into his behaviour should be launched by Brent Council, by Brent Labour and by the Labour Party.

Anonymous said...

In the footage from the meeting Cllr Butt says Brent has lost around £210million from their budget and us residents need to realise how important it is that we now rely on CIL money from property developers as an apparent reason for accepting this new lease which will generate just £90k per year income for Brent Council from multi billion pound property developer Quintain.

BUT if CIL money from developers is so vital to fund Brent Council projects why exactly, under Cllr Butt's leadership, did Brent Council give £17.8million of our vital CIL money to this same multi billion pound developer Quintain for their 'vanity project' new steps outside Wembley Stadium??? Quintain first sought planning permission for these new steps in 2007 and they would certainty have budgeted for them to be built without being given our vital CIL money.

That £17.8million of CIL money could have helped so many important local projects in Brent for the benefit of us actual residents.

Philip Grant said...

There is now a report on last Tuesday's Cabinet meeting on MyLondon and on HarrowOnline:

The Local Democracy Reporter, Grant Williams, emailed me shortly after watching the live webcast, saying: 'I was very surprised to see the way Cllr Butt spoke to you', and asked me to get in touch with him.

For balance, he also contacted Brent Council for their side of the story.

This is what a Brent Council spokesperson told him about the "confrontation" which I had with Cllr. Butt, immediately after the Cabinet "decision" (which the Council claim was unanimous, even though no Cabinet member was seen or heard to vote for it):

“Unfortunately the member of the public took exception to the decision and repeatedly tried to prevent the progress of the meeting by interrupting the Chair as he was speaking. The Chair is responsible for keeping order at council meetings so progressed matters to the next item as there were many other topics to be discussed.”

As I experienced, because I was the 'member of the public' involved, and as the Council's own webcast recording shows, I tried to raise a "point of order" with the Chair, which is perfectly legitimate practice in any committee, and has to be done immediately if a participant in the meeting believes there has been a breach of the rules.

It was the Chair of the meeting who was repeatedly interrupting me, as I was speaking to explain the point of order I had raised with him, but he did not want to hear, or consider.

Anonymous said...

Where are the Brent Council Legal team? If they are not ensuring this fairly simple point of order request is complied with how can we council tax payers be sure that they are ensuring due process is bring complied with on more complicated Brent Council business involving millions of pounds????

Philip Grant said...

Brent's top legal officer, Debra Norman (Corporate Director, Law and Governance), was not at the Cabinet meeting.

Her place as the legal officer, there to give advice if required, was taken by Marsha Henry, until recently Brent's Head of Law, but now with the title Deputy Director, Law.

I recognised Ms Henry, as she was the legal officer advising Brent's Planning Committee back in the summer of 2019, when they were considering Quintain's application for advertisement consent for the Bobby Moore Bridge, and I was one of two local residents speaking against the application.

In my three minutes then, I pointed out that Brent's Planning Officers had ignored the effect of specific regulations for such applications, which said that consent should not be given if the proposed advertisements would adversely affect an asset of historical, architectural or cultural interest, which they would if the heritage tile murals were covered up, and that Planning Officers had given the Committee the wrong advice.

One Planning Committee member asked for clarification on this legal point, which was very important. Ms Henry just said "I'm sure the Planning Officers know what the law is", or words to that effect.

If she had bothered to check the legal position, before giving an "off the cuff" answer, Quintain probably would not have received advertisement consent, and there would not have been an Option B. Instead, all of the tile murals would have been back on public display by August 2022 at the latest!

Does that answer your question, Anonymous (1 June at 17:41)?

Anonymous said...

Brent Chief Executive email interesting read. Brent’s constitution sets the rules, not unelected members of the public, however spirited and well meaning.

Anonymous said...

Councillor Butt needs to take a long hard look at his behaviour, the way he speaks to valued members of our community and anyone else who disagrees with him. It is unforgiveable for someone holding the office of Leader of Brent Council, and he should be thoroughly ashamed.

Philip Grant said...

Dear Anonymous (1 June at 22:35),

I agree that Brent's Constitution (the Standing Orders in Part 2) sets the rules.

Which Standing Order says that, at Cabinet meetings, members do not have to show how they have voted, either by raising their hands or speaking, and that the Chair can assume that they have unanimously agreed whatever he wants them to approve?

Anonymous said...

Sadly it just about sums up what we've begun to expect from Brent Council 😞

Anonymous said...

Anon 1 June 2024 at 22:35 Butt regularly amends the Brent constitution to suit himself and his agenda, which is normally to stop anyone from challenging his rule.

Anonymous said...

Er what Standing Order says these things must be done?

Anonymous said...

Are you suggesting that Brent Councillors now don't even have to do basic things like raise their hand or speak to agree things at meetings? How dare they take their allowances@

Anonymous said...

Let's face it, the public Cabinet Meetings are all theatre; the decisions have already been made, they are just acting and wasting Bent residents' money, as with most things they do at Bent Council under Butt.

Anonymous said...

Says here the Labour Party "manifesto was approved by a round of applause, one source said, so there was no opportunity to register formal disagreement" - sounds like Brent Council tactics😡

But Unite Union are not endorsing the Labour manifesto - let's hope they remove their monetary banking for Labour too - the union dues of hard working people should support them and their fellow workers not wealthy politicians with their expenses claims and second homes!