On New Year’s Eve, Haringey Council leader Joe Ejiofor sacked two members of his cabinet, citing difficulties with getting his top team “to work closely together”. It now seems the chief whip of the Labour Group as a whole has his own concerns about comradely cohesion.
On Sunday morning, Labour Group chief whip Gideon Bull sent an email to all 42 Labour councillors expressing his “deep disappointment and concern about the level of both personal acrimony and discourtesy that I have seen displayed over the last nine months between colleagues”. This has mostly been in emails, according to Bull, but “also in Group meetings”. He continued:
“Quite frankly, the level of unprofessionalism displayed by some, and it is very much only some, would leave residents – those people that we have been sent here to represent and are here to serve – speechless, and would reinforce the very justified, low opinion that they have of politicians…If this level of unprofessionalism was replicated in the workplace then colleagues would be reprimanded, disciplined and dismissed for misconduct.”
“No more personalisation of debates and questioning, no more barking and growling at meetings, no more bad mouthing and rubbishing of colleagues behind their back and above all no more bullying either consciously or otherwise.”
Bull’s closing message, delivered in capital letters, was that “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” and he warned that, following attempts to informally resolve the “many complaints” he and his assistant whips have received, he will “use the full force of disciplinary rules and procedures to tackle unprofessionalism and, dare I say it, uncomradely behaviour wherever we see it and/or wherever it is brought to our attention”.
Ejiofor, of course, became Haringey leader in May following the ousting of the previous Labour administration by Corbynites and Far Left fellow travellers by means of a deselection campaign, egged on by the Guardian in its wisdom. The feuding and factionalising both he and Bull have had to cope with ever since is entirely usual on this part of the Left, as anyone who recalls London local government in the 1980s knows.
In the same tradition, a “betrayal” narrative is up, running and going strong outside the Civic Centre. Yesterday, Efiofor appeared on Eddie Nestor’s BBC Radio London show. Unsurprisingly, the two callers who got through had questions relating to campaigns that think the “Corbyn Council” isn’t being Corbynite enough.
One was a complaint about the planned temporary relocation of the Seven Sisters “Latin Village” indoor market across the road as part of the area’s wider redevelopment. The other was about the amount of social housing in a development in Tottenham Hale. Both causes are supported, more or less covertly, by members of the Labour Group and others who would like to see Ejiofor replaced. Bull’s ENOUGH IS ENOUGH probably still goes for the council leader too.