Deputy launches challenge to become the leader of Brent Council
PUBLISHED: 17:11 09 May 2016 | UPDATED: 09:08 10 May 2016
The leader of Brent Council is being challenged for his position – by his own deputy.
Cllr Muhammed Butt faces being toppled by Cllr Michael Pavey at Brent Labour Party’s AGM this Saturday.
The final decision will be down to the borough’s councillors who will cast their votes on who they want their leader to be.
If Cllr Pavey’s bid is successful it will be history repeating itself as Cllr Butt became the leader after successfully challenging Ann John OBE while he was her deputy.
Cllr Pavey told the Times he had launched the leadership challenge because residents ‘deserve a better council’.
He said: “We are at a crossroad and I want to give people a choice,
“Unless you change the leader now the council won’t change direction.
“I think it’s important that the leader has energy and enthusiasm. I have those and freshness and optimism.
“I would like to see Brent as a much more resident-accessible, inclusive and welcoming borough as I think it can be cold and unbureaucratic.
“It’s all about democracy.”
Last year Cllr Pavey was tasked with reviewing the council’s equalities policy after a black worker won a racial discrimination tribunal case.
He said he realised the town hall had an ‘institutional and cultural problem’ that needs to be addressed.
The 37-year-old entered the world of politics in 2012 after winning a by-election in the Barnhill ward following the resignation of Judith Blackman.
A governor at Wembley Primary School, he was the council’s lead member for finance for two years - a position he says is ‘the biggest job in the council’ and has gained him skills which would advantageous as the borough is in the midst of £54million worth of cuts.
“I had to make difficult decisions and balance the books,” he said.
“The government is making things hard for Brent we have the choice to go along with it or fight for our residents.
“We can stop blaming the government and lobby for changes we would like to see.
“I think residents deserve a better council.”
If his bid is successful Cllr Pavey has promised to create a policy that will tackle what he believes is the biggest issue in Brent – housing.
He said: “I want a real Brent vision for housing.
“We are moving residents to Birmingham while homes are being built in Brent that residents can’t afford.
“The Brent community would benefit from a fresh start.”
The Times has contacted Cllr Butt for a comment.