Sep 12 2013

Harrow ILG Press Release: No Confidence in Council’s Director of Legal Services


ilg_roseILG supports Harrow’s Constitution and the Rule of Law

Harrow’s Constitution is very clear ‘No invalid motions will appear on the Council agenda or be otherwise circulated.’ In order for the Conservative motion to discuss the Leadership to be valid, it should have had 25% of Councillors signing it as it is less than 6 months since the Leadership was challenged and won. To date neither the Mayor nor ILG have seen the 25 signatures the Conservatives claim to have.

Secondly, the Constitution also states ‘…the Mayor shall have the power to alter the venue, day and time if he/ she believes it to be appropriate for the conduct of the business of the Council.’ Following a letter from 5 Conservative Councillors on 29th August asking for an Extraordinary Meeting of Council to discuss the Leadership, the Mayor wrote on 2nd September stating that the request for the Extraordinary Meeting should be granted on 23rd November. It is therefore wholly inappropriate for the Director of Legal Services to undermine the Mayor’s ruling by circulating an invalid agenda.

The Mayor made it clear to the Chief Executive that in her view this was an abuse of process as, in accordance with rule, she had given clear indication that she would call a meeting in November (once the six months period had elapsed) It is the belief of the ILG that the intention is to further undermine the Mayor by ignoring the
Constitution which clearly states ‘The Mayor’s ruling on the interpretation or application of any of the Council Procedure Rules is final. ‘

For this reason… [sentence redacted following legal advice]… ILG and the Mayor have lost confidence in the Director of Legal Services and will therefore seek independent legal advice before Monday 16th September.

ILG publicly asks the Chief Executive to arrange appropriate legal advice for the Mayor for the Extraordinary Meeting due to take place at 7:00PM on Monday 16th September. Although the Mayor requested that arrangements should be made, she has to date not received a response.

Cllr Zarina Khalid – Group Secretary

Michael Lockwood, Chief Executive of Harrow Council, said, in response to this statement: “The council has taken appropriate and independent legal advice about the Extraordinary Meeting on Monday, September 16th. This concurs with the Monitoring Officer’s advice that this meeting was properly called and that the motion can properly be considered. This legal advice will be shared with the Mayor, the Leader of the council and the leaders of the two opposition parties in advance of the meeting.”

He concluded: “The council has every confidence in the actions of the Director of Legal Services who is also the Monitoring Officer.”

[warning]This article was originally posted verbatim as received from the ILG. Following legal advice, it was taken down shortly afterwards, and a statement provided by the Council’s Chief Executive was appended. In addition, part of a sentence – indicated by “[redacted]” above has also been removed, again, following legal advice.

It is unusual for iharrow.com to censor articles, however, the alternative was not to publish. Residents wishing to see the original, unaltered document, should contact the ILG on 020 8424 1154.


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  1. Harrow Cynic

    Why is this story, about the continued madness in Harrow Council, illustrated with the Labour Rose? This is a piece about the views of the so-called Independent Labour Group, whose members have been expelled from the Labour Party.

  2. Georgia x

    I called the Legal and Government team today and on Monday. I have called them several times since shortly prior to the Independent Labour Group being formed. I have found them most helpful and informative. I am very grateful they have taken the time to carefully explain certain aspects of the constitution to me, along with other elements of how council work.

    I am confident that the Legal and Governance team have scrutinised all these unusual requests in great detail, in the knowledge that this must be ‘got right’.

    I am afraid I do not have the same confidence in the Independent Labour Group or indeed any political group or any individual Councillor. They are all knowledgeable in their own particular ways but the Legal and Governance team are a specialists who have been concentrating on the way council business is done for many years.

    I would be surprised then, if we were to find that the Legal and Governance team have misinterpreted the constitution, and as important as the office of Mayor is, the Mayor and every other Councillor, in any position, must work within the confines of our constitution and legal framework. Otherwise, lets face it – a good number of them would just be making it up as they go along to suit their own agendas.

    Just to add one little note. It must have been very disheartening when, in a bold and unprecedented move (for Harrow at least), the Leader of the Council ignored the usual protocol of stepping aside and relinquishing his seat to the new leader – who was duly elected by his party – but instead just stayed put, dismissing the entire cabinet and putting his supporters in to the various seats therein. That decision has lead on to untold disruption, in-fighting, and embarrassment on a number of levels. It has left many people in our Borough without representation and taken away valuable time from meetings which are designed to keep the business of our Borough moving forward. That behaviour, of our leaders, supported by a number of his allies from both the labour Group and the Conservative Group, was within the letter of the law and constitution, despite not being in the spirit of it.

    I suspect that our sympathies for this recent administration and those who have continued to support their actions, have just about run dry by now.

    Georgia x

  3. Cllr Willy Stoodley

    Georgia x what did you EXPECT legal services to say – “oh yeah, sorry Georgia we got it all wrong”?!!! Wake up & smell the coffee! And for the record, our Counsel’s advice differs from theirs – so go figure…

  4. Cllr Willy Stoodley

    @ Harrow cynic-it’s OUR rose, not Labour’s.

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