Jeremy Corbyn backs Labour executive in Haringey housing row after council boss quits

Posted On: 
3rd February 2018

Jeremy Corbyn has backed the Labour ruling executive over a bitter housing development row that saw a council leader quit.

Jeremy Corbyn has backed calls to halt a controversial joint housing venture
Credit: 
PA

Claire Kober announced her resignation after 10 years as boss of Haringey Council this week with a blast at the "sexism" and "bullying" she faced from supporters of the Labour leader.

She said she would not contest her seat at the May local elections after the ruling National Executive Committee - which now has a pro-Corbyn majority - said the controversial Haringey Development Vehicle should be halted.

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Opponents of the £2bn scheme have led a campaign of deselections which has seen several Labour councillors replaced with left-wing rivals.

They argue the private partnership project amounts to social cleansing and believe current residents will not be re-housed once the work is complete.

But in a speech to councillors in Nottingham today, Mr Corbyn will back the NEC and argue: "Regeneration must put local people first, not property speculators."

“It has been a unique situation, which is why the NEC unanimously asked the council leadership to put their plans on hold and take part in a mediation process - to bring everyone together," he will say.

“Because when we bring people together and listen to everyone’s voices, we make better decisions. Democracy creates better outcomes for communities.” 

Mr Corbyn will argue that residents should get to vote on redevelopment projects. 

And in a further blast at privatisation, he will say: “The whole edifice of the ‘private good, public bad’ dogma has crumbled."

Supporters of the HDV have said it will build 6,400 new homes and create 20,000 jobs.

But unions and some party members oppose the transfer of public land and commercial property to a 50-50 partnership between the council and firm Lendlease.

'DISRESPECTFUL'

In an article for the New Statesman yesterday, Ms Kober accused the NEC being “disrespectful of me and my colleagues”.

She said their behaviour “speaks volumes about the esteem in which Labour local government is held by some in our national party”.

Ms Kober accused supporters of Mr Corbyn of "ideological dogma" which will lead to greater suffering for local communities. 

And in her resignation statement last week, she said: "The sexism, bullying, undemocratic behaviour and outright personal attacks on me as the most senior woman in Labour local government have left me disappointed and disillusioned."

COUNCILLOR REVOLT

Last week, dozens of Labour council leaders signed a letter rebuking the NEC over its call to halt the HDV.

The NEC vote was taken shortly after Momentum boss Jon Lansman and two allies won crucial seats panel, tipping its balance in their favour.

The HDV was backed by Haringey Council Cabinet as recently as July 2017 and is waiting on a judgement from a judicial review which took place in October.