Harrow Road Councillor resigns as new job could cause ‘conflict of interest’

Consultant Nilavra Mukerji is standing down as Labour Councillor for Harrow Road

Consultant Nilavra Mukerji is standing down as Labour Councillor for Harrow Road - Credit: Archant

A Westminster Councillor is stepping down after five years due to ‘conflict of interest’ claims involving a new job.

Nilavra Mukerji, who has served as Labour Councillor for Harrow Road Ward since 2010 confirmed in a statement to the Wood & Vale:“ I am standing down to pursue a new opportunity in my professional life, which will preclude me from serving in elected office.”

His shock resignation will trigger a by-election for Harrow Road Ward which is scheduled for 23 July.

Mr Mukerji, who had worked as an independent consultant with a specialism in property said: “It is not a decision I have taken lightly and I shall miss the privilege of working with a fantastic local community which makes our ward such a special place. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time representing the ward that I live in.

Mr Mukerji, who has served on Westminster Council’s Planning Committee for the past year having previously served on the built environment and finance and scrutiny committees, said his role had offered him “a fascinating insight into the very fabric of the borough, with applications ranging from private basement multi-gyms and swimming pools for the very well to do to major plans such as the Jubilee Sports Centre”.

Mr Mukerji who last month oversaw council deliberation over controversial plans to demolish the Jubilee sports centre in Queen’s Park has also been instrumental in community campaigns led by Westminster Labour group’s outgoing Leader Paul Dimoldenberg.

Paying tribute to his colleague Mr Dimoldenberg who stood down last month after 11 years as Leader, Mr Mukerji said: “Amongst other things, we have a thriving and successful community led Housing Association in our ward as a result, which continues to grow from strength to strength. He can rightly be proud of the role he played in that, perhaps his finest hour.

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Reflecting on his party’s defeat in May’s General Election, Mr Mukerji admitted Labour “once again finds itself a cross roads nationally” but underlined his hopes for recovery.

“Locally we now have a new leadership and the opportunity to continue with a renewed sense of purpose. We must be the party that continues to support local communities but also works more with business, developing a fairer vision for the borough that supports enterprise and jobs, and regeneration that is not at the expense of existing communities,” he said.

The Westminster Labour Group is due to meet next week to select a candidate for the July by-election.