Brent Labour councillors in crisis talks following controversial library closures

Special meeting taking place over fears of ‘political suicide’

Labour councillors are locked in talks over the future of libraries in the borough following this morning’s Court of Appeal ruling.

A special meeting is talking place tonight where the borough’s Labour Party are expected to discuss the recent events surrounding the unpopular closures.

Many of the councillors voted for libraries in their wards to be closed but following public backlash the Times understands some are concerned whether they have committed political suicide.

Today (Wednesday), a judge banned Brent Council from boarding up Kensal Rise and Preston Library until the Court of Appeal has decided whether it is right to close six libraries in the borough.

This is a result of campaigners lodging an appeal against a High Court ruling last week that paved the way for the council to axe half of the borough’s libraries.

The council had closed all 12 branches in the borough on the day of the landmark hearing but following the ruling they failed to reopen Kensal Rise, Preston, Barham Park, Tokyngton, Neasden and Cricklewood libraries.

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Since then, residents and campaigners have held an around the clock vigil outside Kensal Rise Library in Bathurst Gardens to prevent it from being boarded up.

Crusaders have also thwarted attempts to board Preston Library.

Cllr Paul Lorber, leader of Brent Liberal Democrats, said: “I think ordinary Labour councillors are shocked by the depth of anger in the community about the way they have behaved.

“They now have an opportunity to bring the council back from the brink by telling Cllr John to sit down and talk seriously to campaigners from all six closed buildings about re-opening the libraries.

“We need the libraries back open and operating as soon as possible so they can continue to serve the community which values them so highly.”