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Tories take aim at Labour over ‘hour of filibustering’ at public police meeting

PUBLISHED: 19:34 03 July 2018 | UPDATED: 19:34 03 July 2018

Council leader Cllr Muhammed Butt. Picture: Ken Mears

Council leader Cllr Muhammed Butt. Picture: Ken Mears

Archant

An “hour” of anti-government polemic from Brent’s top Labour politicians at a public police meeting infuriated Tories in the audience.

Brent North Conservatives took aim at Brent Council leader Cllr Muhammed Butt, London Assembly member Navin Shah and Brent North MP Barry Gardiner, who spent “20 minutes each” of the two-hour session blaming government cuts for the increase in crime.

The panel with borough commander Simon Rose – whose remit also covers Barnet and Harrow – was billed as a chance to “find out what the police are doing about violent crime and how the merger of Brent, Barnet and Harrow police will affect this”.

The Brent North constituency party includes Kenton ward, which contains Brent’s only three Tory councillors after the party’s seat tally was halved at May’s election.

“Brent residents thought they were going to listen to and question Simon Rose, who would outline police strategy on the prevention of violent crime which has been rampant across Brent recently,” a spokesperson for the group said.

“But instead, he sat with his head in his hands as the panel hijacked his meeting.

“This was an ideal opportunity for residents of Brent to speak to the new tri-borough commander, but it turned into a political farce as Labour politicians deviated from the crime agenda rather than focus on the real issues that are of concern.”

Brent Labour stood by its comments. A spokesperson said: “We make no apology for drawing attention to the scale of cuts to police funding in London.

“The government needs to understand that cuts have consequences, and in Brent that’s fewer brave officers working tirelessly to keep our streets safe.”

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Meanwhile, The council has been asked to scrap its “outdated restrictions” on how community infrastructure levy (CIL) money can be spent.

The cash, stumped up by developers to offset the impact of their projects in local areas, is ringfenced because each area has named three priorities it should be spent on.

Brondesbury Park’s Cllr Kieron Gill (Lab) wants CIL funding for Tiverton Park but parks were not named as a priority in the area. The town hall said it was reviewing the funding programme.

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