COUNCILLORS can unseat the council leader during the culmination of a political showdown that a backbencher said had left the council “a laughing stock”.
The Conservative group’s request for an extraordinary meeting of the full council has been accepted and will be held at 7.30pm on Monday, September 16, immediately after another extraordinary full council meeting called to deal with unrelated urgent matters.
The sole item is the “discussion and consideration” of the leader of the council, Councillor Thaya Idaikkadar, who rules with a minority Independent Labour administration. A simple majority motion could force him out of office and the same could elect a new replacement leader.
Councillor Stanley Sheinwald (UK Independence Party) said: “I’ll be very surprised if Independent Labour and Labour would allow the Tories to take back power at this time.
“It was the wrong time [to request the meeting]. It’s too near to the next local election and the public are getting very confused about what’s going on.
“This is the third administration this year and the officers must be getting fed up. Every time there’s new portfolio holders, they are trained them up and then they’re gone.
“It’s not the way to run the council and we’re becoming a laughing stock.”
Besides Mr Sheinwald, there are three Independents, a Liberal Democrat, and nine Independent Labour members, while the Conservatives and Labour group have 25 councillors each, if everyone turns up.
Councillor David Perry, Labour group leader, said: “The Labour group are extremely concerned that Susan Hall and the Conservative group have destabilised Harrow Council yet again. This latest move is politically motivated and a personal grab for power.
“We feel it is important that Harrow Council is returned to a ‘business as usual’ footing, and that the Labour Party is returned into administration because this is exactly what the people of Harrow voted for at the 2010 elections.
“The Labour group over the coming days will be acting in the interests of the people of Harrow and will take the lead in trying to honour their mandate and return Labour back in control of Harrow Council.”
It was confirmed Monday's meeting was called by the council's monitoring officer - Hugh Peart, the director of legal and governance services, after the Mayor, Councillor Nana Asante, who is an Independent Labour councillor, either refused or failed to call a meeting following the presentation of the requisition by five members of the Conservative group.
Councillor Susan Hall, leader of the Conservative group, said: “As far as I am aware, the Mayor did not intend to refuse a meeting.
“Nevertheless, she did not agree with us that it should be on September 16.
“Correct procedure allows for councillors to ask the monitoring officer to call a meeting if the Mayor does not secure a meeting date within five days of the request.”
She added: “If I win [the leadership vote] on Monday, I pledge the park and graveyard lockings will be reversed. I’ll be down the council depot first thing on Tuesday morning.”