Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

An 'Affront to Democracy' LABOUR COUNCILS' FURY AT ORDERS FROM NEC

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

An 'Affront to Democracy' LABOUR COUNCILS' FURY AT ORDERS FROM NEC

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN WALKER Political Editor jon.walker@trinitymirror.com @jonwalker121

LABOUR leaders of North East councils have accused Labour's ruling body of 'an affront to the basic principles of democracy'.

Newcastle Council leader Nick Forbes, Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council, and Harry Trueman, acting leader of Sunderland City Council, signed a letter demanding the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) stop trying to tell Labour-run councils what to do.

They were among more than 70 Labour council leaders across the country to object after the NEC voted to ask Haringey council, in north London, to halt a controversial public-private housing scheme.

The letter said: "Labour Local Government wishes to make it clear to all members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) that they have no right or justification to interfere in or influence the legitimate actions of locally elected representatives."

The Haringey scheme, called the Haringey Development Vehicle, is designed to build 6,400 new homes in the borough.

But it is opposed by some Labour politicians and activists, including the Momentum group which backs Jeremy Corbyn, partly because it involves transferring PS2bn of public assets fund partly managed by a major property developer.

Council leaders such as Coun Forbes are not backing or opposing the scheme, although they praised Claire Kober, the leader of Haringey council who has come in for criticism. But they are opposed to the idea that Labour's national ruling body should give instructions to local councils elected by residents.

But they are opposed to the idea that Labour's national ruling body should give instructions to local councils elected by residents.

They said: "It is a vital and longstanding rule of the Labour Party that individual Labour Groups, consisting of democratically elected Labour councillors, are sovereign bodies.

"As such, they have the ability, within available resources, party rules, and the law, to determine the most appropriate policies to serve their local communities. …

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