Category Archives: Opposition watch

COUNCIL LEADERSHIP BAN LABOUR OPPOSITION COUNCILLORS AND RESIDENTS FROM SPEAKING AT PUBLIC MEETING

RBKC Labour Opposition Group Release, 5th June 2020

Conservative-controlled RBKC promised to be an open, transparent and listening Council after the Grenfell Tower Fire. But on the eve of the third anniversary of the Fire that killed 72 Borough residents in the worst disaster in peacetime history, it’s clear the Conservatives are returning to the bad old ways of the past.

In a sudden and startling move it was announced that the virtually-held 3rd June Leadership Team meeting would not permit any scrutiny questions from Labour councillors or members of the public who could attend but not speak.

The agenda included a Grenfell Recovery Strategy update, a Covid-19 Response report and others on new house builds construction works, Portobello Road Market and a supplementary planning document on community housing.

One Labour member who did attend forced the Council Leader to allow two questions after they made public they were being censured. This debacle no doubt contradicted the Council Leader’s many promises about listening and learning.

Labour Group leader Councillor Pat Mason said, “Stopping elected scrutiny councillors from holding the leadership to account for their decisions by banning them from speaking at a public meeting is anti-democratic. Actions speak louder than words, and the message received is that the leadership do not require anyone to hold them to account”

Statement from the RBKC Labour Opposition Group

Statement from Councillor Pat Mason, Leader of the RBKC Labour Opposition Group,

about the comments made by Sam Gyimah to the Independent on 11th November 2019

Commenting in an Independent newspaper report on 11th November 2019 about who may be responsible for the Grenfell Tower Fire, Sam Gyimah is quoted saying, “The Council is responsible and there are Labour councillors on there that could have stopped some of the decisions and didn’t”.

Commenting on who may have been responsible for the decisions made about the cladding, he is reported saying, “Emma Dent Coad(who was a member of the RBKC Labour Group before the Grenfell Tower Fire and still is a member) was on the Council and was part of all the discussions that went on in terms of the cladding”.

Unless Mr Gyimah can provide the evidence to support his allegation that RBKC Labour councillors had some responsibility for decisions that led to the Fire, we will expect an apology and a retraction of these allegations in writing. If he does not either provide the evidence or retract and apologise, we will instruct John Cooper QC, who represents the RBKC Labour Opposition Group in all matters regarding the Grenfell Tower Fire Public Inquiry, to advise on what legal action should be taken.

As a former Conservative government minister whom we would have expected to be familiar with the rules and procedures of public inquiries, Mr Gyimah should have recognised that it is the duty of Sir Martin Moore-Bick and the second phase of the Grenfell Tower Fire Public Inquiry that begins in 2020, to decide who is responsible for this atrocity, and that it is improper and irresponsible for him to have prejudged what the Inquiry may decide.

When, in January 2018, Sir Martin Moore-Bick refused the Labour Group’s application for Core Participant status at the Inquiry for a second time, he said, “At the moment I have seen nothing to suggest that any of your clients (Labour councillors)is likely to be subject to personal criticism……I do not think it likely that the Labour Group on the Council, or any of its members, is likely to be criticised for not having opposed more vigorously the polices and decisions of the majority party”.

Ends

For further information contact: Cllr Pat Mason -Email:cllr.pat.mason@rbkc.gov.uk Tel: 07496 538 101

Portobello Road Street Stall

Every Friday from 9.30am – 2pm we have a street stall on Portobello Road. We are usually located just outside Tesco at pitch 103. We share the stall with local campaigners. Currently we are hosting the Save The Pembridge Hospice campaigners who are collecting signatures for their petition. We are also collecting food for our local foodbank. You can find a list of their urgently needed items on their website https://kensingtonchelsea.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-food/ . We also have newsletters from our fantastic MP Emma Dent Coad who joins us whenever she can.

Please do pop by for a chat if you are in the area!

Kensington’s affordable housing disgrace

This bijou no bedroom pad, yours for £300,000

By Amir Akhrif’s Campaign Diary

Do you live in a household that earns an average of £150,000 a year? Do you want to buy an average house in Kensington? Sorry mate, you’re too poor…

The wonderful, hardworking people at Shelter have released their latest Housing League Table, and yup, you’ve guessed it, Kensington has ranked as one of the worst for affordable housing in London. No surprise there, but some of the figures are eye watering!

You would have to earn £158,400 per year in order to afford to buy an average-priced house in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea area.

There are 6,687 households on the waiting list for affordable housing in Kensington – at current letting rates this will take 11.20 years to clear.

Independent experts say your area needs to build 3,663 homes per year. The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea planned for 85 new affordable homes to be provided in your area last year.

Thank you Shelter for exposing the Council’s complete and utter failure in providing affordable housing.