Tag Archives: Joy Laguda

Co-op coup

22 Nov

James Beckles 2016 Nov 21

Picture from @james_beckles on Twitter

Last night Newham Co-operative Party said yes to democracy by voting No in the Newham mayoral trigger ballot.

It was 37 votes to 36. That may seem like a narrow win but in the context of Newham Labour politics, it’s an extraordinary result.

According to reports, 15 of Sir Robin’s Yes votes came from councillors on his vast payroll.

Two more turned up but were unable to vote because they weren’t actually Co-operative party members. And in a moment of pure comedy gold, one of them produced her Co-op loyalty card, thinking this would get her a vote.

Who was this? Cllr Joy Laguda, the supposedly-independent chair of council and ‘civic lead’ (a polite legal fiction, she’s actually a paid mayoral advisor) for adult social care.

Another matter of interest

20 Oct

From the minutes of the standards advisory committee meeting held on October 6th, which considered a complaint that the Dear Leader had breached the code of conduct:

It was questioned whether, as a Mayoral Advisor Councillor Laguda should declare a pecuniary interest in item 6 (Investigation of complaint of breach of code of conduct by an elected member). Following advice from the Monitoring Officer Cllr Laguda decided that she need not declare an interest.

How jolly convenient. The special responsibility allowance she receives – which is entirely within the gift of the mayor and can be withdrawn by him at any time, for any reason – does not constitute a ‘pecuniary interest’!

Like so many politicians before her, Cllr Laguda has wrestled with her conscience and won.

Perhaps she should have thought a little harder about her decision, because the requirement to make a declaration also extends to non-pecuniary interests.

To quote from guidance issued to councillors (my emphasis added):

The Council’s Code of Conduct requires you to make a verbal declaration of the existence and nature of any … “Non-Pecuniary Interest”. Any Member who does not declare these interests in any matter when they apply may be in breach of the Code of Conduct.

You may have a … “Non-Pecuniary Interest” in an item of business where:

2.2.1 A decision in relation to that business might reasonably be regarded as affecting your well-being or financial standing, or a member of your family, or a person with whom you have a close association

2.3 A person with whom you have a close association is someone who is more than an acquaintance, and is someone you are in contact with over a period of time, whether regularly or not. It is someone that a reasonable member of the public might think you would be prepared to favour or disadvantage when discussing a matter which affects them.

All of the councillors on the hearing sub-committee should also consider section 5 of the guidance, on bias and pre-determination (again, emphasis added):

If in relation to any decision, your outside connections may make it appear to a reasonable person that there is a real danger of bias, or predetermination you should seek advice as to whether it is appropriate for you to participate in any discussion about the matter and in the decision, regardless of whether or not you consider that you should declare an interest as defined above.

Given that councillors Laguda, Scoresby, Collier and Amarjit Singh all campaigned alongside Sir Robin in May and were photographed with him on their leaflets, a reasonable person might very well think there is a danger of bias or pre-determination.