A POLITICAL group at Brent Council has gained one representative and lost another.
Liberal Democrat councillor Reverend David Clues officially handed in his resignation on Friday although there will be no by-election for his Dudden Hill ward seat because it is less than six months until next May's full council elections.
A spokesperson for the Liberal Democrat Group said: “David Clues said he would time his departure to save local taxpayers the high cost of a by-election.
"By ending his term of office in November, David Clues has saved local residents the £25,000 cost of holding a by-election and enabled the vacancy to be filled at the next scheduled elections.”
Reverend Clues had served the council since 2006 but moved to Brighton in Sussex earlier in the year and had not attended any of the four full council meetings and three partnership and place overview and scrutiny committee meetings since June, sending apologies for just two.
At the same time Councillor Dhiraj Kataria, who represents Welsh Harp ward, has left the Labour group in power to join the opposition Liberal Democrat group.
Mr Kataria said: “I have become increasingly disillusioned by the way the Brent Labour Group has operated, and particularly by the top-down way in which that it has been led.
“I feel decisions taken by the Labour group and Labour executive members, such as closing half our libraries and cutting street cleaning, have been against the interests of my constituents.
“I have been impressed by the Liberal Democrat Group’s commitment to transparency and open debate on Brent Council and intend to serve the remainder of my council term as a Liberal Democrat councillor.”
Councillor Paul Lorber, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said: “Dhiraj had a ringside view of Labour’s mistakes in Brent.
“I am delighted to welcome him into the Liberal Democrats. He has a record of service on the council, particularly on the planning committee where he has stood up for local residents and as vice-chairman of the important budget and finance overview and scrutiny committee.”
Mr Kataria was elected at the May 2010 local elections. He served on Brent Council between 1986 to 1990 after sitting as a councillor in Redbridge in east London.
Councillor Mohammed Butt (Labour), council leader, said: “Dhiraj Kataria was not selected to stand for the Labour party at next year's elections and I am extremely disappointed that he has now joined a party which is imposing swingeing cuts on the vital frontline services on which Brent residents rely, and nodding through policies that will make it harder for local families to get on in these tough times.
“By cynically delaying his decision to resign until now, David Clues has robbed Dudden Hill residents of their right to representation on the council.”
n Brent Council’s political make-up is: Labour 40, Liberal Democrat 15, Conservative 7.