View from the chamber: Opposition committed to make difference

PUBLISHED: 10:30 30 August 2018

Highgate Ward Lib Dem candidate Liz Morris. Picture: Polly Hancock

Highgate Ward Lib Dem candidate Liz Morris. Picture: Polly Hancock


In May 2018 we grew our Lib Dem Opposition group on Haringey Council from eight to 15 councillors.

I was one of the eight Lib Dem councillors up against a large Labour group of 49 councillors.

However, we punched well above our weight in the council – believing in the fundamental Lib Dem principle that residents must be put at the heart of everything a council does.

Now we have almost doubled the size of our opposition group, we can achieve more for residents in our borough. But what does opposition mean and what can it actually achieve?

Clearly, part of being in opposition is to “oppose”. This may sound like a negative or undermining role but in reality it is crucial and constructive. We are like the council’s rear parking sensor – we make a noise when it is about to make a mistake. For example, my predecessor as Liberal Democrat leader warned back in 2016 that the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) had an “unacceptably high risk and should not be entered into by the council”. Had this warning been heeded, taxpayers would have been saved the £3m in costs.

A strong opposition will offer an alternative. In February we launched our housing policy, which would see Haringey Council set up its own housing company, fully costed and approved by the council’s chief financial officer.

We are very pleased that the new Labour administration has adopted the Lib Dems’ recommended policy and now our role is to ensure the council moves decisively to build the homes that are desperately needed.

Looking forward, there are many complaints from residents about rubbish and refuse not being collected, pavements not being swept, the state of the borough’s road surfaces, dirty swimming pools and desperate adult social care cases.

While we appreciate that council services are under pressure, the council must manage and monitor the work of contractors and partners to ensure that they are delivering the services.

Haringey residents pay one of the highest council tax rates in London and with a 6 per cent rise in council tax from April 2019 the Lib Dems will be pressing the council to deliver.

Finally, I cannot end this piece without mentioning Brexit and the groundswell of support for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal. Last week the founder of the clothing brand Superdry donated £1million towards the campaign.

And it was reported in the weekend press that two of Labour’s biggest “beasts”, Lord Mandelson and Tom Watson, have united to get Jeremy Corbyn to support a people’s vote.

As many of you know, Haringey had the fifth highest remain vote in the country and Haringey’s two Labour MPs support a vote on the final deal.

I now ask that the leader of Haringey Council, Cllr Joe Ejiofor, and his Labour group, join the Haringey Liberal Democrats in representing our borough by publicly calling for Jeremy Corbyn to support the People’s vote.

I will be writing to Cllr Ejiofor this week to reinforce this message, and I look forward to sharing his response with you.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories


The killers of Camden model Harry Uzoka have been jailed for a combined total of more than 60 years.


High Court judge Sir Ross Cranston, who last week blocked Transport for London’s (TfL) plans to begin building the CS11 cycle superhighway in Swiss Cottage, has denied TfL permission to appeal his judicial review ruling.


Seven months to the day after a single winter night saw two young men stabbed to death, Camden’s youth safety task force – led by Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer and Cllr Abdul Hai – last night recommended a series of measures to arrest the alarming upwards trend in youth violence in the borough.

Yesterday, 17:30

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Ham&High readers this week.

There are more than 3,000 homeless families housed by Haringey Council in temporary accommodation in the borough and more than another 1,000 housed outside the borough according to Trust for London.

Yesterday, 15:23

A woman from Temple Fortune turned have-a-go-hero and chased a pair of criminals – causing them to drop a wad of stolen cash – after an elderly woman was robbed at a nearby cashpoint.

Yesterday, 13:15

Haringey Police are appealing for infomration after a 40 year old woman was sexually assaulted on a Muswell Hill Bus.

Yesterday, 12:53

Two rogue swans rapidly regretted the decision to land on the Hampstead Heath ponds when the resident swan family chased them off the water and left them “a bit battered” on a grass verge.


Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now