Tag Archives: Sir Robin Wales

Head to head

21 Feb

RoksvsRobin

Out with old, in with the new?

The Labour Party has written to local members to confirm the shortlist for the mayoral selection:

Last night, the selections panel for the process to select Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Newham interviewed candidates to decide the shortlist that members in Newham will select from.

Their decision is that the shortlist will comprise of:

Rokhsana Fiaz
Sir Robin Wales

Voting starts on 1 March and there will be at least one hustings event – details of which have not yet been confirmed.

In the meantime, party members can get a flavour of the two candidates by reading the in-depth Q&As each has had with London blogger Dave Hill:

Q&A with Rokhsana Fiaz

Q&A with Sir Robin Wales

Banner headlines

15 Feb

Mwarne 2018 Feb 15

Just as the open selection for Labour’s mayoral candidate is about to get underway, the council has seen fit to install a series of new banners across the borough. These extol the virtues of the Dear Leader’s policies, showing him surrounding by his adoring and grateful public.

This is a straightforward misuse of public money to support a candidate in an internal party selection.

And even if the trigger ballot had gone the other way and Sir Robin was already the Labour nominee, how can you justify this blatant propaganda barely 10 weeks ahead of the election?

The trouble is that Wales Rob-in has been in office so long that council officers can no longer distinguish between working in the public interest and working for him. 

Image

The verdict

12 Feb

Wales Nope

What’s Next?

12 Feb

Copwatcher 2018 Feb 12

On Twitter, Kevin Blowe asks the obvious question:

If Sir Robin Wales is ousted as Mayor of Newham, what happens next?

Ideas please for unraveling the legacy of hard-right Labour council. Some suggestions:

  1. No more ugly, expensive developers’ gold-rush skyscrapers in Stratford

  2. 100% social housing on the Carpenters Estate

  3. Ending the council / police / immigration enforcement operation to harasss and disperse homeless people in Stratford

Off the top of my head:

  • Abolish the directly-elected mayoralty and return to leader & cabinet
  • No more ‘jobs for the boys’
  • End the out-placement of council services into arms-length companies

And Newham Co-op Party secretary Gill Hay adds:

A re-commitment to use all possible empty housing in the borough for housing people in need.

Feel free to add your own suggestions on Twitter or in the comments.

UPDATE:

Some suggestions from Twitter:

  • No pensions for Mayor or council
  • End of Mayors special advisor payouts
  • A sponsor to cover costs of Under The Stars etc.
  • Sell Building 1000
  • No more photos of the clowns in the Newham Mag
  • Proper independent scrutiny
  • A realistic policy for Council tax to avoid more cuts
  • Instigate a thorough forensic examination of ALL the authorities finacial dealings over the past 16 years
  • No giving away council buildings to hipster developments from outside the borough that speed gentrification
  • No turning music venues into trampoline parks
  • No more donkey & sand posters for the mayor’s £4 million gigs
  • Limited terms for mayors/council leaders

Thanks to Sites of NewhamMike Law, Damnably Records, Kevin Mansell, @iainaitch and @StopCityAirport

London stadium enquiry

12 Feb

London Stadium 886749

At the Council meeting on 4th December, Sir Robin announced a review of the decisions that led to the “investment” of £40m into the former Olympic Stadium, which part-funded its transformation into a new home for West Ham United. The review would also cover the due diligence undertaken (or not) and advice provided to the Council.

Daniel Fenwick, Newham’s Director of Legal and Governance, has now written to councillors to announce the appointment of a senior QC to lead the enquiry:

The Mayor and Chief Executive instructed me as Director of Legal & Governance to lead on the review for the Council and I write to announce that I have appointed Peter Oldham QC to undertake the review of the Council’s decisions to invest in the former Olympic Stadium.  The decision to instruct a QC provides the Council with senior and independent scrutiny of the Council’s decision-making and an expert legal analysis of the decisions made.  It will also enable to obtain legal advice on any rights or remedies the Council may have in respect of the decisions made.  Mr Oldham is a leading QC on local authority matters and his details can be found here.

He will be assisted by Peter Lockley, a junior barrister at the same chambers and will, if required, have access to support from the Council through myself and external expert advisors, if he requires.

It is anticipated that Mr Oldham will complete his review by the middle of March for submission to the Mayor and members.  It is the Council’s intention to make as much of the report as possible publicly available but I will  need to consider whether any legal advice provided to the Council must be kept confidential to protect the Council’s interests at this time. If this situation arises, I will consider the ways in which such information may be shared with members whilst remaining confidential.

I am in the final stage of agreeing the Terms of Reference with Mr Oldham and will circulate these as soon as they agreed and they will also be a public document.

The draft terms of reference, which are due to be finalised today (12 Feb), outline the purpose of the enquiry:

…to produce a report for submission to the Mayor and members, addressing the following issues:

4.1.1.  A narrative of the Council’s Decisions (and related activity) to invest in the Stadium;
4.1.2.  A review of the Council’s rationale for the Decisions and whether or not the Decisions were reasonable to make in all the circumstances, including:

(a) the financial and operational projections that underpinned Newham’s original investment;

(b) the due diligence conducted by and on behalf of the Council and Newham Legacy Investments during the time period stated and whether or not any liability to the Council may arise;

(c) To identify further steps to be taken with regard to any matters identified at b. 

4.1.3. To identify any lessons that the Council can learn for future investments and decisions and what further steps the Council may take.

Although this is not a public enquiry, and the expectation is that meetings and interviews will take place privately, it appears Mr Oldham has the option to decide otherwise.

Included within the scope is the original decision to invest £40m in a joint venture with West Ham, which was aborted when Boris Johnson cancelled the procurement. Newham could have walked away at that point, so it will be interesting to see what, if anything, turns up to explain Sir Robin’s utter determination to throw £40m at the stadium come what may.

The final report is due to be delivered on 23 March and, as Mr Fenwick says, the intention is to make it public. However, this is Newham, so I expect that as many FOI exemptions as possible will be applied to prevent anything seriously embarrassing from being revealed. 

You need wheels

4 Feb

Sir Robin's new wheels

When Lutfur Rahman was swanking around Tower Hamlets in a chauffeur-driven Mercedes Benz, Sir Robin took great satisfaction in pointing out that he drove his own car – a used Toyota.

But judging by the car currently sat on the mayoral driveway, the Wales household has recently opted for a major upgrade.

A shiny new Range Rover may be a bit less ‘man of the people’ than his dusty old Toyota, but at least Sir Robin can arrive at the open selection meetings in comfort and style. I’m sure Labour members will be suitably impressed.

Hat-tip to the reader who spotted this and sent the photo

UPDATE 9/2/2018

A reader left a comment on Wednesday (see below) saying the car belongs to Sir Robin’s neighbour. Yesterday Alan Olive, a retired Labour Regional Director and Elections Officer living in Hemel Hempstead, reached out on Twitter to say the same thing. And the reader who sent the original tip-off confirms that, as of yesterday evening, the car is indeed parked next door.

Maybe these aren’t Sir Robin’s wheels. If anyone has anything more definitive, one way or the other, I’d be very grateful.

Sir Robin says NO!

29 Jan

Sir Robin has finally had to confront reality. He cannot win the trigger ballot if it isn’t rigged by his mates.

But he is putting a brave face on it.

In an email sent to local Labour members this evening he is calling on them to vote for an open selection at the branch trigger ballot meetings:

I am writing to ask you to vote no in the upcoming trigger ballot meetings so that we can have an open contest for Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Newham.

I have also written to all the organisations affiliated to the Newham Labour Party thanking many of them for their support and asking that if they do take part in the up-coming trigger ballot, that they vote no.

Over the next couple of months I want Newham Labour Party members to give their mandate to a Mayoral and 60 councillor candidates, so that we can unite as a party and focus on the Labour-led values and manifesto that we take to residents in the May local elections.

It is important we have an open debate about the vision that we present to the people of Newham.

We can be proud of our achievements that have changed peoples lives for the better:

  • Council Tax frozen for nine years without making cuts to vital frontline services.
  • The largest increase in employment in London, with over 35,000 jobs filled with Newham residents through our jobs brokerage service Workplace.
  • Initiatives such as universal free school meals and Every Child a Musician with 1.2 million musical instrument lessons delivered that have contributed to Newham having some of the best school results in the country. 
  • A ground-breaking private-rented sector licence, that has allowed us to prosecute more criminal landlords than the rest of London combined.
  • The creation of council-owned small businesses, protecting jobs and services and innovating with public-sector reform.

That is the radical agenda that we have been following since I have been Mayor and continues to drive my vision for Newham in the future. It is this record and vision that I want to proudly defend and promote in an open selection.

That is why I am calling on all members and affiliates in Newham to vote in favour of an open selection if they attend their branch meetings to cast their vote on the trigger ballot.

So please vote NO to result in an open selection.

Of course, this could be a huge fake-out and he hopes the email will keep the No voters at home and his friends can all turn up to automatically re-select him. But let’s take him at his word. Labour members should turn up in droves to vote No and win the open selection they wanted in 2016.

You have to wonder why Sir Robin didn’t say this to the NEC or the press a month ago, rather than just at the point the trigger ballot meetings are starting. The open selection, which he now says he wants, could have started sooner and allowed alternative candidates to organise their camp… oh, right. 

Challenger

29 Jan

RF small 306Image

Councillor Rokhsana Fiaz OBE has announced that she will challenge Sir Robin for Labour’s mayoral nomination should the trigger ballot result in an open selection.

She broke the news in an interview with the Newham Recorder over the weekend, which they published this evening.

The Custom House councillor has thrown her hat into the ring ahead of the first wards casting their votes tonight in the re-run of the process.

She said: “I’m putting myself forward for this because I want to offer a fresh start for this council and a new ambitious alternative for Newham.”

Cllr Fiaz, who was born and brought up in the borough, was first elected as a councillor in May 2014 and currently sits as chair of scrutiny as well as a member of the council’s audit board and strategic development committee.

She explained that she was passionate about the issues facing a lot of people living in the borough, including affordable adult social care, the safety of young people and investment in early years education.

“I’m passionate about making sure there are genuinely affordable, quality homes for people,” she added.

“I’ve been working closely with an organisation called Peach, who are in my ward of Custom House, to allow residents to have their say during the regeneration.

“Uniquely, I’m also the only councilor who does regular youth surgeries for young people to come and meet me.”

The trigger ballot, also known as the affirmitive nomination process, is being held to decide whether to automatically select incumbent mayor Sir Robin Wales as Labour’s candidate for May’s election or whether to open it up to other prospective candidates.

Ward meetings in the re-run trigger ballot start tonight.

Trigger dates

28 Jan

Here are the dates for the Labour Party branch meetings to re-run the trigger ballot.

Branches in West Ham CLP are first between 29th January and 8th February

  • Mon 29th Jan – 7.30pm – WEST HAM – 306 High Street E15 1AJ
  • Tue 30th Jan – 7.30pm – CANNING TOWN NORTH – Neighbourhood Centre, 18 Rathbone Market E16 1EH
  • Tue 30th Jan – 7.30pm- CUSTOM HOUSE – Main Hall, Ascension Church, Baxter Road E16 3HJ
  • Wed 31st Jan – 7 pm – PLAISTOW SOUTH – Barking Road Centre 627 – 633 Barking Road E13 9EZ
  • Wed 31st Jan – 8 pm – PLAISTOW NORTH – Harold Road Community Centre, 170 Harold Rd, London E13 0SE
  • Thur 1st Feb – 7.30pm – FOREST GATE SOUTH – Durning Hall, Resident’s Lounge, Earlham Grove, London E7 9AB
  • Thur 1st Feb – 8 pm – FOREST GATE NORTH – Durning Hall, Earlham Grove, London E7 9AB
  • Thur 1st Feb – TBC – GREEN STREET WEST – venue TBC
  • Thur 1st Feb- 7.30pm – STRATFORD & NEW TOWN – 306 High Street E15 1AJ
  • Thur 8th Feb – 7 pm – CANNING TOWN SOUTH – Cafe Eat 16, 89 Tarling Road, E26 1HN (Old St Luke’s church)

All the East Ham CLP branches will all meet on Sat 10th February at East Ham Town Hall, 328 Barking Road E6 2RP at the following times:

  • 10.00am – BOLEYN
  • 10.30am – BECKTON
  • 11.30am – EAST HAM CENTRAL
  • 12.30pm – EAST HAM NORTH
  • 1.30pm – EAST HAM SOUTH
  • 2.30pm – LITLLE ILFORD
  • 3.00pm – ROYAL DOCKS
  • 3.30pm – GREEN STREET EAST
  • 4.00pm – MANOR PARK
  • 4.30pm – WALL END

West Ham Women’s Forum will meet on the deadline day of Sun 11th Feb at 18.30 at Vicarage Lane Community Centre, Govier Close E15 4HW

If you are a Labour member, please attend your branch meeting and vote NO, which is a vote for an open selection. You are advised to arrive in good time (half an hour early) as late-comers will be turned away. You need to take your Labour Party membership card or another form of ID.

Downfall

28 Jan

Hat-tip to @newhamlabourwtf on Twitter for linking to this.

The uploader calls himself Ken Clark, though I suspect that may be a pseudonym!