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Haringey Council leader to step down following Labour housing row

The leader of Haringey Council will stand down from her post at the local elections in May, following a dispute with Labour over a controversial housing project.

Council leader Cllr Claire Kober has today written to her chief executive Zina Etheridge, to confirm her decision to stand down as ward councillor for Seven Sisters, leader of Haringey Council and chair of London Councils in May after the local government elections. .

The councillor explained that an argument over a £2bn housing scheme in the area known as the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) was a key reason behind her decision.

The HDV aimed to sell off council assets in a joint partnership with a private developer, but was criticised by Jeremy Corbyn and other left leaning Labour members, who ordered the council to halt the scheme last week.

On her way out, Kober also hit out at Labour campaign group Momentum, who have been attempting to influence future reselection contests within the party.

Speaking to the London Evening Standard, she stated that: “The sexism, bullying, undemocratic behaviour and outright personal attacks on me as the most senior woman in Labour local government have left me disappointed and disillusioned.”

In her letter to Etheridge, the councillor, who has led Haringey Council for 10 years, said that although she has mixed emotions about the decision, it is the right point to move on to new challenges.

Highlighting some of the changes seen in the north London Borough in the last decade, Kober said: “We are no longer a place that thought we could do no better than achieve 65% of schools rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted because of the deprivation and transitory nature of the population.

“Instead it is a place where almost 100% of our schools are Good or Outstanding.

“We’ve gone from being a council that was known for its terrible failures in children’s services to an organisation that won the LGC Children’s Services of the Year 2017 award.”

Since the 2011 riots there has been a £500m public sector investment, plus £3bn from the private sector, and the construction of the first council houses in a generation has now begun, she also stated.

Kober explained that she does not intend to take the final decisions required for the setup of the controversial HDV prior to the start of the pre-election period, which begins 26 March, considering it appropriate that such decisions are made following May’s local government elections.

Haringey Council has said that establishing the HDV remains its approach to providing homes and jobs on its land.

Top image: Yui Mok

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