The leader of Hounslow's Labour party has branded the council racist as the row over planning enforcement rumbles on.
Cllr Jagdish Sharma, leader of the Labour group, made the explosive statement in response to a Tory-led crackdown over illegal conversions, prompting furious calls from the ruling coalition for him to withdraw his comments.
Cllr Sharma (pictured) abstained from voting on the latest illegal building to come before the Central Hounslow Area Planning Committee, on May 22. Its owner illegally converted the family home in Charter Crescent, Hounslow West, into two flats, bringing in £1,400 per month, while he and his family lived in an outbuilding.
He said: "This policy is being implemented against a section of the community and is perceived as institutional racism. If this is the case I strongly condemn it.
"When so many people are saying these things it becomes my duty to discuss this issue thoroughly (with the Labour group) and make our position clear."
He said almost all the 'victims' were from a small section of the community,many of whom feel they are being 'persecuted'.
But deputy council leader Mark Bowen rubbished the accusations and accused him of stirring up trouble.
He said: "Cllr Sharma has made these very dangerous references to institutional racism but hasn't followed through on his claims with any evidence. This is typical of Labour, trying to make political gain out of race when it's not an issue."