Apr 02 2014

Cllr Husain Akhtar’s Standards Hearing

husain_akhtar1Today, after a wait of almost nine months, it was Cllr Husain Akhtar’s turn to sit in the hot seat at a Councillor Standards Hearing at the Civic Centre.

Regular readers will recall the disgraced councillor’s history, with his ongoing – and frankly, unbelievable – bleating that he wasn’t involved in the Harrow Council for Justice – a myth we exposed when we looked at his updates to their website and when we linked an email he’d sent, and an email sent by the HCJ to the same computer. And if that wasn’t enough, the HCJ – or Akhtar, depending how you look at it – sent out links to photos of one Councillor’s modelling portfolio with the express intent of causing her distress during the holy month of Ramadan.

The standards hearing revolved around two issues:

  • Was Akhtar involved in the HCJ when he’d told every one wasn’t? Remember, he’d even let the HCJ use his home computer, despite giving them a laptop.
  • Had he breached the code of conduct by trying to smear a fellow Councillor?

Lets recap today’s hearing…

Firstly, it seems the Council tries to keep hearings secretive, and away from the preying eyes of the residents (also known as those who actually pay their wages, allowances and expense claims). It took a number of calls to confirm a date and time that had been leaked to us, including Democratic Services insisting that these were private meetings, and not open to the press and public. Finally, the Council’s Head of Legal got involved, and declared that yes, the public probably would be admitted, subject to a a decision to hold the meeting in public, which was an improvement on the blanket “no” we’d be told originally.

[pullquote align=”left” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]Regular readers will recall the disgraced councillor’s history…[/pullquote]We met up with a couple of journalists from the local papers there, exchanged a bit of gossip and swapped notes on rumours of scandal we’d heard. Cllr Osborn will be dismayed to have heard his name mentioned, no doubt, but that was only in relation to loads of FOI requests not being dealt with in time.

The council sent down its PR Supremo, Fergus, not, alas with coffee and biscuits, but merely to keep us entertained, whilst we waited for the Hearing Group Panel to decide if this was to be a meeting with the public allowed in, or a more furtive and secretive session. Despite no objections from Akhtar – he didn’t actually bother to turn up – that part of the meeting took around an hour before we were summoned in to the the meeting room – via the tradesman’s entrance – to take our seats.

nobody_seen_akhtarDemocratic Services handed out a 120 page plus bundle, containing an analysis of the two complaints by the Council’s investigator, and we settled down to watch the fun. Attendance from councillors was, to put it bluntly, poor. In fact, the only spectators here to watch Akhtar being fed to the lions, was two journalists from the local press, iharrow, a random resident who’d wandered in because he was bored, and Supremo Fergus to keep an eye on us (and, it turns out, to fight our corner).

Akhtar, we’re told, hadn’t attended. Makes sense: by avoiding the meeting, lots of questions remain unanswered, so if he were to want to hide anything, not appearing – and he’s well within his rights to do that – is probably sensible. “Perhaps,” mused one of those present, “he hasn’t got the balls…” Well, no, it seems that he’s been pouring more drivel into the Markborough and Wealdstone Independents’ website, paradoxically criticising Harrow Council for something its done well.

And then time stood still. We heard Conservative Councillor Simon Williams say: “He is hiding behind the secretive HCJ which is a malicious and nasty organisation which has gone after Zarina Khalid, gone after Victoria Silver and gone after Susan Hall – all women in a position of authority.”

The Council’s Investigator said: “In my opinion he has acted in a manner that could reasonably be regarded as brining his office into disrepute. It is quite clear that there is a personal motivation behind this.”

To cut a long story short, Akhtar was given three sanctions:

  • He is to receive additional training on the councillors’ code of conduct
  • The council will publish a notice in the local papers reporting the outcome.
  • The council will publish the same notice on it’s website.

Getwestlondon reports that Akhtar has said he will refuse the training, adding “”I do not need training. There is nothing I can learn about these matters.”

Already, there are calls for Akhtar to resign, which echo our poll in August last year, where 98% of iharrow.com readers also though he’d outlived his usefulness. Marlborough and Wealdstone residents would do well to remember that this is the character standing for election in their wards shortly.


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  1. Cllr. Paul Osborn

    I am dismayed to have heard my name mentioned!

    Happy to have a talk with anyone about FOI requests not being dealt with promptly. We have come along way in dealing with this issue. The last report I saw, which was on Monday, still showed around twenty cases outside the 20 day limit, but these were typically only a few days outside the limit rather than the previous problems of cases being 100 plus days late.

    It is still not good enough, and I am committed to sorting this out.

  2. Concerned Harrovian

    Why would any woman vote for Husain Akhtar?

  3. Melanie

    Far be it from be to cast aspersions on others and Councillor Williams would do well to keep his mouth shut about other people’s behaviour. But, as the secretary of the Abchurch Residents Association and the Applicant in the Whitchurch Playing Fields Village Green Public Inquiry, a number of issues were raised that have never warranted a mention in iharrow. Firstly, Mrs Winstrom, Headteacher of Whitchurch, amongst others, complained long and loud over being misled by council officers. We all know who it was, why have they not been reprimanded? Is it because as Councillor Steve Wright told me at the licensing panel that “these are my boys, we go drinking together”. Additionally, we had huge support from Councillor Macleod-Cullinane, who gave evidence, who promised any number of residents that should the Conservatives gain power than they would register the land voluntarily. All we in fact got was ignored and abused by the deputy leader who no doubt is still collecting his councillor’s stipend whilst, in fact, ignoring his Ward and residents as if we were beneath him. Both he and Councillor Williams owe me a personal apology for telling my husband that he could not stand as a Councillor in Harrow on the Hill unless he; “shut me up” or “divorced me”! As for the leader, she sat through the Public Inquiry, congratulated me afterwards but has now decided she doesn’t like me. Her beloved boys are Councillors Macleod-Culliane, Williams and little Chris Baxter, who, she has made Chairman of Harrow West through her machinations. Just what Harrow West needs before an election, a 23 year old Chairman! But, the leader says that no one must talk to me because I write nasty things about her on iharrow. No, I write the absolute truth and I have the paperwork to back it up.
    So, this constant refrain against Councillor Akhtar, who may or may not be as naughty as you claim, I have no idea. Why not Councillor Macleod-Cullinane? I have his letters on Council headed notepaper and more. He screamed and shouted at me in public for no reason other than I asked him what was happening with Whitchurch. He promised that he would see me moved out of Harrow, that I was a f***ing, lying, b***h and on and on. Where’s his comeuppance? I know that iharrow is a Susan supporter, try disagreeing with her just once. Your life will be hell.

  4. Me

    Hahahaha, finally Husain gets punished! I do hope all parties inform voters about his misconduct via leaflets and door knocking so residents are prevented from voting for him. Anyone is better than that beast and his horrid HCJ friends! Well done to Paul Boakes for all his help in bringing justice to Harrow.

  5. Concerned Harrovian

    Has Akhtar made a public apology to the lady councillor for the photograph incident yet? It seems to me he still waving his speedos at everyone defiantly and excusing his behaviour.

  6. Cllr. Marilyn Ashton

    I am a woman and have been in a position of authority as Chairman of Harrow East Conservative Association (I was the Chairman of the Planning Committee and Portfolio Holder for Planning from 2006 -2010 with Husain happily serving on the planning committee for well over a year during that time). When Husain crossed the floor, we were all very disappointed in him. He had been been elected as a Conservative Councillor in Canons ward and so it was most regrettable that he felt so disaffected and angry that he took this action and joined Cllr. Sheinwald, who had done the same, as an Independent. As the then Association Chairman, I wrote a letter to the press saying that Husain should resign and that his behaviour was unacceptable. Since then, Husain has belonged to two other political groups on the Council and has now reverted back to being Independent. I believe that this constant switching sides has very much damaged his credibility. However, at no time has he ever been nasty to me on a personal basis and yet he must be in no doubt that I was, and still am, extremely unhappy with his behaviour, which I consider to be disloyal to the Party, and the people therein, who selected him to stand for Council in 2007. This draws me to the conclusion that it is not particularly women in authority that Husain dislikes, just that he dislikes certain people, their gender being of little or no consequence to him. Therefore, it is what you do about it when you dislike people that is the crux of the matter here and frankly nothing else.

    1. Melanie

      As one would expect, the most sensible and pragmatic comment comes from Councillor Ashton. The best that Harrow has ever been was when Councillor David Ashton was in charge. Together, they make you proud to be a Tory.

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