Lib Dem councillors top list for worst attendance at Brent Council meetings

Clockwise from top left: Lib Dem councillors Hayley Mathhews, Simon Green, Chandubhai J Patel, Jack

Clockwise from top left: Lib Dem councillors Hayley Mathhews, Simon Green, Chandubhai J Patel, Jack Beck and Gavin Sneddon - Credit: Archant

The top five councillors in Brent with the worst attendance records for meetings at the town hall are all from the Liberal Democrat party.

In a further twist, councillors Simon Green, Hayley Matthews, Gavin Sneddon, Chandubhai Patel and Jack Beck are all stepping down at the forthcoming local elections in May.

Figures published on Brent Council’s website shows Cllr Green, who is the only Lib Dem councillor in Queen’s Park, has the worst attendance record with him showing up at just 17 per cent of meetings in the last six months.

He failed to attend any full council meetings during that time.

Jack Beck, from the Dollis Hill ward, is second worst with a record of 20 per cent, with Hayley Matthews, from the Mapesbury ward, third with 22 per cent.

Gavin Sneddon, who moved away to Barnet just under two years ago while keeping his seat in Willesden Green, turned up at 25 per cent.

Chandubhai Patel, from the Sudbury ward, is the fifth worst at 33 per cent.

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The Times called Cllr Sneddon and Cllr Green on the mobile numbers shown on the council’s website but they failed to return our calls.

The other three councillors had the phone number of their party office as their contact number but when the Times called the number we were told to leave a message.

Only Cllr Beck got back to the Times.

He said: “After being elected in 2010, I quickly realised that trying to raise an issue or represent a local person’s concerns in a council meeting was pointless: no matter how serious the case or how passionately I tried, the Labour-run council would belligerently block almost all worthwhile causes.

“My recommendation to any aspiring candidates in 2014 is that they focus on their wards, the streets and the people they represent. Time spent in the council chamber is often time wasted. A meeting with 200 people, a press pack and national public pressure couldn’t stop Labour tearing down our libraries.”

Telling the Times all five were stepping down, Cllr Paul Lorber, leader of the Brent Lib Dems, said all five had personal issues which affected their attendance at council meetings.

He added: “Some of the meetings are pointless to attend because Labour councillors are pre-whipped and often the outcome of the meeting are decided before the meetings in their chambers.

“We need to judge councillors not on their attendance records but by how they are involved in their community and how they are putting forward the concerns of their constituents.”

Cllr Lorber, who attended 42 per cent of meetings, added: “I spend 40 hours a week volunteering at community run libraries because it is important to my constituents. 95 per cent of everything I do is in direct contact with officers.

“This is what our councillors do and that I feel is more a productive way of representing our residents.”

Cllr Sami Hashmi, who represents the Mapesbury ward, was the only Lib Dem councillor with a 100 per cent attendance record.

Conservative councillor Bhiku Patel, who represents Kenton, and Labour councillors Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council (Tokyngton), Krupa Sheth (Wembley Central), Lesley Jones (Willesden), Mary Daly (Sudbury), Mary Arnold (Kilburn), Michael Adeyeye (Queen’s Park), Sandra Kabir (Queensbury), Tayo Oladapo (Queen’s Park), Benjamin Ogunro (Kilburn), Bobby Thomas, Brent Mayor (Kensal Green), Jean Hossain (Preston) also boast a 100 per cent attendance record.