Cllr Abdirazak Abdi: Kilburn councillor’s planning committee complaints against Brent Council leader thrown out

Kilburn's Cllr Abdizarak Abdi and leader Cllr Muhammed Butt

Kilburn's Cllr Abdizarak Abdi and leader Cllr Muhammed Butt - Credit: Archant

A Kilburn councillor sacked from his role on Brent’s planning committee “for making the wrong decisions” has had his complaints against the council leader thrown out.

Cllr Abdirazak Abdi was offered the role scrutinising planning applications on behalf of the Labour group following his election in May.

As reported in the Brent & Kilburn Times (Jul 27), he was told by Cllr Muhammed Butt he was being removed, allegedly to make way for another councillor.

However, the leader is then alleged to have issued “alternative” reasons for dismissing Cllr Abdi from the role criticising the new recruit’s “competence, preparedness and conduct in the planning committee”.

In an email seen by this paper addressed to Brent Council’s chief legal officer, Deborah Norman, and Brent’s chief exec Carolyn Downs copied in, Cllr Abdi complained about his leader for “breach of members’ code of conduct”.

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When this was turned down, Cllr Abdi made a second complaint, alleging “political interference in Brent’s planning system by Cllr M Butt”.

He said: “I assert that Cllr M Butt interfered with Brent’s planning system [sic] and then tried to make false accusations in regards [sic] to my competence, preparedness and conduct in the planning committee.

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“These accusations were not put to me at the time and I wasn’t given an opportunity to challenge.”

Turning down this second complaint, Ms Norman said it was a political, not council, matter as Cllr Butt was operating in his party role. She stated: “It is not a council matter and the obligations set out in the code do not apply.”

Cllr Abdi sat on two planning committees, on June 6 and July 4. He voted to approve seven applications and turn down four.

The Hampstead and Kilburn Labour Party (HKLP) and the Brent Labour Local Campaign Forum both passed resolutions supporting the councillor and have demanded his reinstatement.

Paul Scott, secretary of the Kilburn (Brent) Labour Party, said: “We should ask the question whether Cllr Abdi’s removal from the planning committee was the result of due process or a decision by one man.

“If it’s the latter it would have a chilling effect on other councillors in the borough.”

A Labour Group spokesperson said: “Group matters are confidential, as are investigations into potential breaches of rule. As such it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

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