Labour Party to investigate Brent Council leader over ‘death cover-up’ claims
PUBLISHED: 15:59 03 June 2016 | UPDATED: 16:13 03 June 2016
The leader of Brent Council is to be investigated by his own political party into claims he covered up the death of a councillor to stall a by-election.
The Labour Party will look probe the allegation that Cllr Muhammed Butt purposely hid the news that Cllr Tayo Oladapo had died in January until March.
Cllr Oladapo, a 34-year-old Labour councillor in the Kilburn ward, died on January 29 following a long illness.
His death was announced publicly on March 11.
Last week all Labour councillors in Brent were sent an email from Cameron Scott, regional director of the East of England Labour Party, informing them that a party investigation was underway.
In the email he has encouraged anyone with information to contact him directly.
Cllr Butt has vehemently denied the claims which have been made by a former council employee.
In an email seen by the Times which Cllr Butt sent to his party colleagues, he said: “I have been in contact with London region about the email and it’s wholly inaccurate contents.
“I do find it offensive and we have now gone to such lows that a friends and comrades death is being used for political point scoring.”
An independent investigation into the claims was launched this week.
Headed up by Richard Penn it will look into the allegation and also look at the way the council’s policy regarding councillors who are continuously absent from town hall meetings.
Cllr Oladapo last attended a meeting in November 2014 and his subsequent absences from meetings were approved by the council until his death was confirmed.
Under current rules any councillor who fails to attend mandatory council meetings for six months, except certain exceptions, automatically loses their position and a by-election is called.
Mr Penn’s findings and any recommendations he has will be revealed at a full council meeting in July.
The London Labour Party failed to respond to three emails from the Times.
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