Really rotten boroughs – the case of Robin Wales

Newham's one party stateby Robin’s ‘Hood

Many of us have had concerns about the executive mayoral model, especially in unitary councils run as one party states with no effective opposition. Recent events in Newham, East London, illustrate what can go wrong. Three councillors (5% of the total) have currently been placed in administrative suspension by the national Labour Party, including one who is known as being a strong supporter of Jeremy Corbyn and who recently helped launch Momentum in Newham. Perhaps not a great career move if your local party leader was a well-known supporter of Liz Kendall!

It might turn out that the allegations against these Councillors are justified. However, it makes you wonder exactly what these three backbench Asian councillors have done when you consider that recent findings against leading Newham Labour political figures, who were not at any stage suspended by the party during investigations, resulted in no action being taken against them whatsoever by the group or the Labour Party – despite serious misconduct being established. Continue reading

Victimisation of students forces UCL occupation to withdraw

A student occupation at University College London (UCL) has been forced to disband after university management gave notice that they would hold three students liable for £40,000 worth of costs.

The occupation was established in protest at UCL’s plan to open a new campus in Stratford, east London. The development of the campus would require the demolition of the Carpenters’ Estate, and the eviction of hundreds of council tenants from their homes. Robin Wales, the Labour executive mayor of Newham, has defended the plans. Among his many justifications, he has said: “you find people who say it’s their chance to move to Southend.”

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