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Tottenham Haley – end of the line for Labour

A leading Tottenham councillor has defected from Labour to the Liberal Democrats after meeting the party leader Nick Clegg.

Brian Haley (pictured), a national recycling expert and frontbench cabinet member for the environment, resigned his membership of the Labour Party today, ahead of a full council meeting in Haringey later tonight.

Last November we reported that Haley was one of three Black Labour councillors who had been ‘deselected’ in the borough.

Speaking ahead of a photocall with the Lib Dem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, Lynne Featherstone, Haley told OBV Blog that he intended to stand for his new party at the forthcoming local elections this May.

He said: “I have suffered six and a half years of covert race abuse in the Labour Party. Because of these attitudes, they would rather get rid of a hard-working councillor.

“Labour has run this borough for 40 years, and yet we still have the highest rates of unemployment and mortality rates. Nothing has changed in 40 years.”

Haley, a councillor for the past 16 years, said his decision to join the Lib Dems was reached after meeting Clegg. Haley also met with Conservative leader David Cameron, but decided to reject the Tories.

Labour has lost a number of Black councillors in the run-up to the local elections, leading to concerns in the BAME Labour affiliate organisation and among some MPs.

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8 Responses

  1. Ha! The headline is genius.

  2. It’s more likely to be the end of the line for Haley.

    He was deselected for very good reasons and had plenty of warning. ‘Covert race abuse’ is little more than people being fed up with him for being lazy and useless. Haringey Labour has increased the number of black candidates and there will be more BME councillors in the next administration. Haley had a very good run for his money with the Labour Party in spite of having no Labour values at all. It’s not a gravy train or a job for life.

    And if he was so senior, wasn’t he part of the problem? ‘I’m leaving this Party because I can’t stand the way I’ve been running it.’ The man’s just a joke.

  3. #Phillip Lane

    If you look back at the reaction to other Black councillors defections, they have all been accused of being lazy, useless and self serving.

    I call it the Ron Atkinson syndrome.

    If it was one or two individual cases, maybe some of the criticisms might have an element of credibility, but the fact that this happens time after time after time, suggests that there is something else going on here.

    I knew this reaction was coming, it’s so predictable.

    I am no expert on Brian Haley, but what I would ask is this: how do your accusations stand in context of him being a frontbench cabinet councillor for so long; for his 16 years of service in the council?

  4. Fair question. I will try to answer it. Firstly Haley has only been a councilor since 2002. His length of office seems to increase with every report but it is eight years.

    It’s very common for any councillor to fall short of the mark when it comes to workload and I would guess that it’s the most common reason for deselection, white or black. It’s a tough job and requires commitment. A lot of people who fall into it come from a very idealistic political background and drive themselves very hard. It’s a calling and it’s not for everybody.

    Then there’s the ‘triumph of hope’ argument. When Haley first appeared he had a lot of admirers. It was great to be able to promote a young, articulate presentable, ambitious, black councilor. However, it didn’t last. He needed, and got, support… [an allegation was deleted by the editor – concerns about defamation]

    He didn’t work very hard. He was stubborn and unimaginative. He argued with local residents and got in with a clique of individuals [an allegation was deleted by the editor – concerns about defamation]

    He was deselected for a very good reason. There were other candidates who were better than him. That’s how it works. People have to be adults about politics, black or white.

  5. To some extent, I slightly agree with Philip. I’m not going to make any slanderous comments on this blog – but the majority of Black people in positions of power seem to neglect the others. When they’re in power, they seem to have their own agenda, but when things go wrong they play the race card.

    You may say that the problems that Tottenham are experiencing are too big for one person to tackle. But I respond by saying that it takes one person to make a change!

  6. Lester’s point about Ron Atkinson syndrome is good, and something that I agree with to an extent. It’s industry wide, and by no means relevant to politics only.

    But, I don’t think your two’s points have to be mutually exclusive, since James’s point about black people in positions of power is also bang on, but I think this is ESPECIALLY relevant to politics

    Like James, I will refrain from garnering the attention of omnipresent libel lawyers by naming no names, but I think we could all come to a private consensus about whom we speak of.

  7. Phillip, I have no idea whether the allegations – which I have deleted – are true or not, but I am appalled that you feel the need to make them.

    It really is very low. Really nasty party stuff. If your arguments against Brian Haley carry any weight you should not have to resort to that.

    But the fact that you do makes me highly sceptical about the rest of your claims – which I have published.

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