Paul and Beckles quit

16 May

Cllrs Terry Paul and James Beckles

Before the mayor had the chance to announce her new executive team two members of her previous cabinet announced their decisions to stand down.

First was Cllr Terry Paul

It’s been an honour to serve the residents of Newham since 2018 as the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, but with regret, I have declined the offer of a different role in Cabinet.

I’m proud to have restored Newham’s financial sustainability and improved its governance and reputation. I have left Newham’s finances in a better place than when I found them, and Newham is in the best financial position to face the challenges of the future.

Over the last four years there are many achievements I’m proud of, but my personal highlights were:

  1. The Covid-19 response: Newham spent £30m keeping services going and protecting residents. This was meaningful to me as I had to shield during the early stages of the pandemic;
  2. The London Living Wage was given to 700 care workers across Newham to the London Living Wage, making sure that those caring for our most vulnerable residents were rewarded fairly for their work. Thanks to this, we were also able to sign up to UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter.
  3. Restructuring the Council finances to provide more money for services: through more efficient use of council funds, we found ways to improve funding for Young People, Children & Adult services, and libraries.
  4. Taking on the banks: Newham renegotiated better terms on its disastrous LOBO loans of circa £435m, reducing our interest payments to the banks and freeing up money for council services.
  5. Addressed the need for improved temporary accommodation in Newham, developing a Temporary Accommodation Housing Programme over 18 months to provide quality homes for people in urgent need.

I’d like to thank my Cabinet and council colleagues for their commitment to making Newham a better place. No one goes into local politics without a desire to improve their local area, and that is apparent in the work all my fellow councilors do for their communities.

It’s a privilege to have the trust of Stratford’s voters, and I intend to continue working hard and speaking up strongly for them over the next four years.

The digital ink was barely dry before Cllr James Beckles announced that he too was returning to the back benches:

After nearly 3 and a half years in the cabinet, I will be stepping down as the Cabinet Member for Crime and Community Safety. It has been a privilege to serve the people of Newham leading a front-line service that has positively impacted the lives of many of our residents.

I’m proud of a number of things that have been accomplished in my three years including:

  • Launching Newham Council’s Women’s Night Safety Charter with Stratford Business Crime Reduction Partnership.
  • Maintaining a council-funded Met police team, able to respond to council priorities.
  • The Days of Action every six weeks tackling ward-based anti-social behaviour.
  • Newham’ Trading Standards, Licensing, and Regulatory Services team winning a National Hero Award from the Chartered Institute of Trading Standards for their rigorous inspection work during the pandemic.
  • Launching our council’s Modern Day Slavery Strategy.
  • Co-ordinated work with the Met Police to disrupt and arrest drug dealers in Stratford Park.
  • A Violence and Vulnerability Reduction Action Plan commended by the Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction Unit.

All this could not have been achieved without the dedication and hard work of council officers who are the backbone of our organisation and turn our political ideas into reality.

I’m looking forward to the new term and working for the people of Custom House, who have put their trust and votes in me and my ward colleagues.

Reaction from across Labour’s political spectrum was swift and consistent.

Rita Chadha, recently elected in Canning Town North, said on Twitter

 

Known @Terrympaul for more than 20 years, not always agreed, but you would be hard pressed to find a better representative and public servant. A big loss to the cabinet in Newham

 

Former councillor Daniel Blaney, very much from the left of the party, tweeted

 

Unbelievable! Me & Terry are on different sides when it comes to Labour Party NEC elections and argue all the time, but he delivered progressive policies like London Living Wage for careworkers. This is disappointing news.

To misquote Oscar Wilde, “To lose one cabinet member, Ms Fiaz, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness.”

7 Responses to “Paul and Beckles quit”

  1. Kronikal May 16, 2022 at 12:36 #

    Terry Paul says he’d declined a different cabinet position, which I assume means Fiaz wanted to move him to another portfolio. Which position, I wonder?
    You just quote what they each said about their achievements, as reported elsewhere a few days ago, without comment or challenge, though with a few tweeted reactions.
    We used to rely on this blog for the inside knowledge! – what’s the story behind it? Is Terry now on manoeuvres, planning to challenge Fiaz in four years for the mayoralty? (Which would likely depend on the assumption that the constituency parties won’t still be suspended!) Or sooner, given the number of councillors who’ve complained about her?
    Does he have ‘higher’ ambitions? Are either of our MPs suspected of possibly not contesting the next election? Come on someone – give us the low-down!

    • Martin Warne May 17, 2022 at 08:03 #

      I’m sorry you find my blog disappointing but I can’t write about what I don’t know. But to indulge in a little speculation: having run finance for four years, any other cabinet post would reasonably be seen as a demotion unless it came with the deputy mayorship. That particular bauble has been handed elsewhere, so clearly it wasn’t on offer to Cllr Paul (or James Beckles for that matter). As for broader ambitions, Cllr Beckles has recently tweeted about completing the Future Candidates Programme so that’s not a secret; Terry Paul raised his profile in the party by running for the NEC a year or two back – read into that what you will. As to our MPs, I don’t think either of them has plans for an easier life BUT with new boundaries coming in there is an extra seat up for grabs in Stratford and Bow. Some people might be interested in going for that, I would imagine.

  2. Imran khan May 17, 2022 at 04:33 #

    All very interesting but do we know why thy have resigned.

  3. Kronikal May 18, 2022 at 15:57 #

    Thanks for your speculations, Martin. (I had assumed you did have some inside knowledge!)
    The Newham 65 site has since published two articles on this, including https://www.opennewham.co.uk/news/more-cracks-appearing-in-newham-labour – they claim Terry was offered a social services brief.

  4. Anon 1 May 19, 2022 at 12:50 #

    I am surprised to read a list of things these Councillors say they have done. A a resident, I don’t get to see this. May be there should be better communication about what councillors are working on. From a residents point of view, I see very little. The Council is hidden behind their digital wall of a website. If your issues fall into those ‘report it’ boxes, then you have your problem solved. However, if you have another issues, which is outside, then good luck in trying to reach the council. When you do get a phone number, it often goes unanswered and into voicemail. To me there is a detachment between the council and the residents.

  5. Anon 2 May 19, 2022 at 18:11 #

    Councillor Terry Paul statement (extract) “Addressed the need for improved temporary accommodation in Newham, developing a Temporary Accommodation Housing Programme over 18 months to provide quality homes for people in urgent need.”

    I am not fan of the Council’s policy on temporary accommodation. There are specialist letting agencies who work with councils. They lease properties from private landlords. They are offered inducements to sign up. Those letting agents have no control on who goes into that property.

    The Council places who ever they like. For neighbours it is Russian roulette on who moves in. Some people cause problems, because they are not nice people. Others have been placed in a home not their choosing, so they are not happy. They cause problems as they want to be relocated.

    It is likely some have been evicted from elsewhere. There is no record kept on them. If someone has been evicted for ASB or other problems, the neighbours are not told. It seems grossly unfair.

    When neighbours causes problems arise, no one knows this property has been leased to the council. The only time, I find out, is when a van turns up with the lettings agents name. Even when you make contact, there is n’t much they can do. They can’t tell you the history of that tenant e.g. do they have a criminal past or violent. The council don’t deal with ASB, so leave it to residents to talk to their problem neighbours. The letting agents, should give an indication how long these problems neighbours will be living there before they are moved on. In the mean time, residents are put in danger, because they put in dangerous people.

    May be next time someone says there is a housing shortage and we need to build more social housing. They need to live some of the problem neighbours I have had over the years. There needs to be a link between getting social housing or benefits and being a responsible member of the community.

    Councils work in silo. Whilst Councillor Terry Paul is working on temporary housing, another councillor is working on crime. However, to me these two issues are linked. They need to link housing allocation to positive community behaviours.

    Why should someone get a nice house in the Olympic, if they have threatened to punch my face?. They get away with their crime. No criminal record….. No one is going to make a police complain about a serious problem neighbour. People dont’ want retaliatory action.

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