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#OPPOSITION move: “It’s time for action against the HDV say Liberal Democrats”

Haringey Liberal Democrats

NEWS RELEASE                                                                   Embargo: None 

Date: 16th January 2018

It's time for action against the HDV say Liberal Democrats

Haringey Liberal Democrats have thrown down the gauntlet to Labour councillors, urging them to “stand up for their principles” after it emerged last week that, in a secret party meeting, 22 sitting Labour councillors refused to back controversial plans to sell off Council homes across the borough.

With Labour’s Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) regeneration plans mired in a growing national controversy, the Council’s Liberal Democrat opposition has requested an Extraordinary meeting of the Full Council and will ask the 22 Labour councillors to join with them to kill off the proposal, once and for all.

The opposition Liberal Democrats have the required number of councillors to call an emergency meeting of the Council and if Labour members broke ranks to support them in a vote on the HDV, there would be a clear majority in the Council against the scheme.

Cllr Gail Engert, Haringey Liberal Democrats Leader, comments:


“It is time for Labour members opposed to the HDV to stand up for their principles and vote publicly against this scheme. I invite them to join local Liberal Democrats at an Extraordinary Full Council meeting to stop the HDV in its tracks.

“I have submitted a requisition for an emergency Full Council meeting - and am calling for 21 or more Labour councillors to support a motion in that special council meeting to bring an end to the Haringey Development Vehicle.
 
“With the HDV likely to be dumped after the local elections there are huge amounts of Haringey taxpayer’s money now at stake.”

Cllr Liz Morris, Haringey Liberal Democrats Deputy Leader, adds:

 
“Now, more than ever, it is crucial that all councillors have a public say on the future of the HDV scheme.
 
“We cannot have a situation whereby a group of Labour councillors, meeting in secret, take a decision which will alter the lives of housing tenants and businesses for a generation and where a majority of the representatives in this borough seem to be opposed to it.
 
“For too long some Labour Councillors have talked the talk on stopping the HDV – it is now time for action. Let's see if they have the courage to turn up to the Extraordinary meeting and stand up and be counted.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

- Extraordinary full council requisition form detailing the Lib Dems motion to stop the HDV: http://haringeylibdems.org.uk/Extraordinary_full_council_requisitio...

- Background on the HDV: https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/news/news/haringey-votes-through-2b...

- Recent comments from the Member of Parliament for Tottenham on the HDV: https://twitter.com/DavidLammy/status/952883441128869888

Tags: Cllr. Alan Strickland, Cllr. Claire Kober, HDV, Haringey Liberal Democrats, Liberal Democrat, New Labour, Northumberland Park, Progress group, demolition

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There was an article in the Sunday Times which speculated on both national and Haringey Labour plans. It has given rise to this thread on a local Facebook site in which a Sue Hughes offers this critique of the Lib Dem call for a full council debate:

[ . . . . ]could you perhaps explain the actions of the Liberal Democrat councillors who have called for a full council decision on the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) - an action that can only be described as grossly opportunist or grossly stupid (both in my opinion.

a) The judicial review on the HDV is due any day. One of the points that we may win on is that there hasn't been a full council decision on the HDV (just labour group). If there is a full council on HDV it will destroy one plank of the argument

2) Current labour councillors who are against the hdv will not be able to vote against the HDV without losing the whip (and therefore being suspended as councillors - this means they will not be able to stand for election in May. The result of this would be that the HDV will be voted in after May.

In respect of a) I don't know if  events that follow the judicial review hearing have any bearing on its outcome. My guess is that if a cause for complaint is removed then the complaint loses much of its force.

In respect of 2) we do know that the current Labour group is efficient and effective in its enforcement. So the 22 opponents of HDV at the Labour party meeting might have little choice but to abstain from voting at the council meeting, which would give rise either to a full council vote in favour of HDV, or eliminate the dissidents from the May elections. 

If there is a full council on HDV it will destroy one plank of the argument

This is not true. The judge will rule on the lawfulness of Ground number four as it existed at the time of the Hearing in late October. The HDV had not been to Full Council then nor, at the time of writing, since then.

Judges hearing judicial reviews do not consider the decision itself, they consider the process leading up to a Decision. This is considered on the basis of reasonableness. Was any part of the process mad, bad or dangerous? See Wednesbury Principle.

Current labour councillors who are against the hdv will not be able to vote against the HDV without losing the whip

There can be little doubt that this would be the wish of the Chief Whip and the Council Leader. Whether it would happen is another matter. Against the actuality of suspension are the following points, not necessarily in order of importance:

  1. Carillion fall-out
  2. Following a free vote
  3. A hailstorm of protest
  4. On a matter of conscience
  5. Two or three months in front of an election
  6. Views of community groups throughout the Borough
  7. Expressed view of both Constituency Labour Parties
  8. Opinions of the local Labour MPs – both of whom have called for a pause or halt
  9. A further bout of re-selections could lead to replacement candidates still less to the taste of New Labour
  10. Up to 22 Labour rebels – in the private Labour Group meeting, a broadly similar motion was lost, but only 24 to 22

Roughly half the Council does not support the Haringey Development Vehicle, but this division does not reflect the public view.

POST script:

#11  Following and in response to the Opposition request for a Full Council meeting and vote on the HDV, Labour Rebels wrote to their Party's National Executive Council (NEC). They may have received more backing than they sought initially.

However, according comments made to The Times newspaper yesterday, the Council Leader intends to plough on with the HDV. For how much longer remains to be seen.

—CDC

Haringey Liberal Democrats

NEWS RELEASE                                                                   Embargo: None

Date: 26th January 2018

Lib Dems welcome Labour’s NEC backing over HDV

Haringey Liberal Democrats have welcomed the news this week that Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) has backed their actions to stop the controversial Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) and are urging Labour councillors in Haringey to do the same.

The NEC was asked to step in by Haringey Labour councillors, following a Requisition issued last week by Liberal Democrat councillors to Haringey Council to stop the HDV. The Haringey Lib Dem opposition used emergency powers to request an Extraordinary Meeting of the Full Council following the news of the Carillion crash, and after it emerged that 22 Labour councillors failed to back demands by the Labour leader of the Council, Cllr Claire Kober, to continue with the HDV scheme.

The possibility of a cross-party majority against the HDV has left the future of the scheme hanging by a thread. If Labour members back the Liberal Democrat motion to stop the HDV the Council could be forced to change its mind.

Liberal Democrats have been campaigning against Haringey Labour’s housing plans for more than 18 months, and the backing of the Labour NEC to halt the project could result in a majority supporting the Lib Dem motion in Full Council without fear from Labour councillors of being suspended from the party.

Cllr Gail Engert, Haringey Liberal Democrat Leader, comments:

  • “There is a clear majority in favour of Liberal Democrat action to vote to stop the HDV. Many Labour councillors, the two Labour MPs and now their national party are against it.
  • “My message to Labour councillors in Haringey is clear – do what is right and together we can put a stop to this.
  • “Local Council tenants and businesses concerned about what will happen to their homes will be watching closely to see what they do.”

Cllr Liz Morris, Haringey Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader, comments:

  • “I am pleased that the Labour NEC have backed the Liberal Democrat action for Full Council to have an open debate and vote on the HDV. Whilst we are concerned that this does set a worrying precedent for future council decisions also being overruled by Labour’s NEC, the HDV is simply too risky to go ahead.
  • “I urge Labour councillors, who should now be able to act without fear of reprisals, to vote with their conscience against this awful scheme to put a stop to the HDV.”

The date of the Extraordinary Full Council has been set for Wednesday 7th February 2018.

ENDS

—CDC

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