Brent Conservative row intensifies as councillor attacks his own leader
PUBLISHED: 15:58 18 November 2016 | UPDATED: 15:59 18 November 2016
A Brondesbury Park councillor has attacked his Conservative leader claiming he is “driven by animosity” and “sabotaging peace within the party.”
Cllr Joel Davidson said that comments made by his Brondesbury Park colleague Cllr John Warren, leader of the Brent Conservative Party, in the Times last week were “full of inaccuracies”.
The Times reported Cllr Warren’s claims that the Kenton conservative councillors, Cllr Reg Colwill, Cllr Suresh Kansagra and Cllr Michael Maurice had been deselected as official candidates for the 2018 elections and would not be able to stand.
Cllr Davidson said: “They have not been deselected at this stage. The selection of the candidate is made by members of the executive committee of the Conservative Association in Brent North. They will decide, it’s nothing to do with John.
“There is a compromise agreement taking place where they can join the official group which will enable them to stand.
“The three wanted to join the official group, it was going to be announced at the full council meeting and John has sabotaged that.
He added: “Originally it [the party fallout] was about money, it was about allowances and that was a problem.
“Now we have the allowances we should be one group.”
He added: “I’ve been the peacemaker. There’s intense personal animosity coming from John.
“He’s trying to sabotage that. He should really respect that and stop sabotaging this process. He does it to infuriate the Kenton councillors.”
Cllr Warren, who said he is on the panel of the Brent North Conservative Association (BNCA), said: “The evidence is against all that. He’s saying after all my efforts to broker peace that have been rebuffed by the Kenton councillors, all of a sudden they want to join my group?
“He knows my efforts to engage with them over the past 18 months have been rebuffed all the way which is why we drew a line. He was in favour of drawing that line. He’s saying nice things about them now? It’s all abit confusing.”
The feud between the Brondesbury Park and Kenton councillors began when the rivals split into groups two weeks after the council elections in 2014.
The fallout occurred when Cllr Kansagra, Cllr Colwill and the late Cllr Patel gave themselves the positions of leader, deputy and chief whip of the group respectively, which made them entitled to allowances.
Months of wrangling ensued between the two groups during which Cllr Patel died from a heart attack – Cllr Maurice took his place following a by-election.
When central office called an Annual General Meeting (AGM) in May 2015 the Kenton councillors failed to attend and the Brondesbury Park councillors were made the new party opposition.
Cllr Warren became the leader, Cllr Shaw the deputy and Cllr Davidson was named as the chief whip.
Cllr Warren added: “The Kenton councillors have been deselected since May 2015. They tried to get that overturned and they lost it. They are paying the price for their obstructive behaviour over the last 18 months.”
Cllr Suresh Kansagra of the Kenton Conservatives said it was “all lies”. He said: “Cllr Warren is not on the panel of the BNCA, I am on the selection panel. That guy is something else.
He added: “We have not been deselected, we are still councillors. There has been an ongoing meeting with the BNCA and Central Office to see if they can come to some sort of agreement. Points are being negotiated, nothing is imminent, nothing has been finalised.”