Leader of the council complains to the Conservative Party about Tory councillors in Brent
PUBLISHED: 12:42 16 June 2015 | UPDATED: 12:47 16 June 2015
The Labour leader of the council has intervened in a feud bewteen the borough’s six Conservative councillors by writing to the chairman of their party saying their behaviour is an “embarrassment to themselves and to Brent”.
In a letter seen by the Times, Cllr Muhammed Butt has contacted Lord Feldmen of Ainstree, chairman of the Conservative Party, to express his “frustration and disappointment” with the rift between the Kenton and Brondesbury Park councillors elected “in the name of the Conservative Party” by the public.
He wrote “I implore you to assist to them that they work out their problems”.
The two groups fell out after the local elections last year after Kenton councillors Suresh Kansagra was voted in as leader of the group and Reg Colwill his deputy.
Their third ward ccolleague Cllr Michael Maurice was elected in a by-election a few weeks ago following the death of Cllr Bhiku Patel in January.
Last month, the regional Conservative Party forced an annual general meeting (AGM) which the Kenton councillors did not attend, having held their own the same week. A newly formed group, Brent Conservatives, was formed at the meeting with Brondesbury Conservatives, Cllr John Warren voted in as leader and Cllr Carol Shaw as his deputy and the Kenton councillors threatened with expulsion for non attendance.
This lead to a public argument at a full council meeting last month as Cllr Warren read out an email from the regional office hailing his group as the new leaders of the opposition.
Cllr Butt told Lord Feldman he wishes to work with a “robust and constructive opposition” but their dispute is taking up valuable time, as they consume “much of their energy on infighting, not the people of Brent” so he, not they, will allocate the opposition roles in the different committees.
Cllr John Warren called Cllr Butt’s intervention “ridiculous”. He said: “Central office has made a ruling and Cllr Butt has chosen to ignore it. What can I do? I don’t see what more I can do. Where as I want to be together Cllr Kansagra doesn’t want to be together, so Cllr Butt’s intervention is ridiculous because central office have already intervened.”
Cllr Kansagra, leader of the conservative group, said: “I think it should now be recognised by the council that there are two groups. Although they [Brondesbury Park councillors] may call themselves Conservatives, we can put a claim to it because we are the party who held the official AGM. Our group is the legitimate group.”
The email the central office wrote to the Labour group and other councillors has not been conveyed to us. Central office has not written to us directly.”
Conservative Party central office has refused to comment.