Brent’s sole Liberal Democrat councillor requests scrutiny position on committees
PUBLISHED: 15:33 16 September 2020
The sole Liberal Democrat councillor in Brent called for more representation from opposition groups on council committees to provide fairer and greater scrutiny on key decisions.
Cllr Anton Georgiou, who represents Alperton ward, said it was “essential” he was placed on a council scrutiny committee to cater for all residents in the borough at a full council virtual meeting on September 14.
Of the 63 councillors in Brent, 59 are from the Labour Party, with three Conservatives and one Liberal Democrat.
Cllr Georgiou said: “I come here first and foremost as a representative of Alperton, but also of a party that has support across Brent and representing liberal values that are shared by many in our borough.
“With such a large majority for the governing party in Brent, the need for in-depth and unfiltered scrutiny by other voices within this council, and outside of it, is pivotal in pursuit of the best possible outcomes for our residents.
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“Perhaps it’s time to add another truly progressive, left-wing voice too scrutiny in Brent – one that will always speak up on behalf of residents who feel ignored by this administration.”
He said this was particularly important given the decisions that will need to be made in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic, which, he pointed out, showed the “real, entrenched inequalities” across the borough.
Cllr Suresh Kansagra, leader of Brent Conservatives, said he could understand his colleague’s “frustrations” but, ultimately, the decisions around the make-up of committees are legally set out.
He suggested Cllr Georgiou attend scrutiny committees as an observer and request to speak where appropriate.
This was accepted by Cllr Roxanne Mashari, the new chairman of the resources and public realm scrutiny committee, who said he would be “welcome” to ask any questions at meetings, time permitting.
According to a council report reviewing the make-up of its committees, Cllr Georgiou, as a single member, cannot be seen as “having formed a political group”.
It noted all council committees, apart from cabinet, have one Conservative, and therefore an opposition, representative.
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