Christmas spirit flies out of the window at Brent Council

Political rivals clash over festive decorations in the borough

Christmas spirit has gone missing at the town hall with two political rivals falling out over festive decorations in the borough.

While many residents look forward to the season of goodwill the leaders of the borough’s Labour and Liberal Democrat groups are tearing strips off each other in their spat.

Cllr Muhammed Butt, the Labour leader of the council and Cllr Paul Lorber, leader of the opposition Lib Dems, have fallen out over the town hall’s decision to fund Christmas decorations on Brent’s high streets.

Cllr Lorber claims the funding shows the council has gone back on its decision to stop funding religious festivals.

He claims if the council can afford to put up decorations it can afford to continue supporting other faith celebrations. However, Cllr Butt accused Cllr Lorber of being a Scrooge. He said: “He says this is in the name of ‘equality’, but as a Muslim I can tell you Christmas is one of the few times of year that families from all backgrounds get time off work and can enjoy precious time together, regardless of their religious beliefs. Cllr Lorber clearly wants to cancel Christmas, what a Scrooge.”

Cllr Lorber said: “Celebrating events like Christmas and Navratri and other community festivals brings people together and strengthens our community.

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“Cllr Butt needs to explain why he is prepared to reinstate funding for Christmas festivities but not Navratri, Eid, St Patrick’s Day and other important events in Brent. The council should support local people of all faiths and no faith.”

The council says it spent 50 per cent less on decorations this year and that they were partly funded by donations from businesses.