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Haringey councillor Stuart McNamara attacks leader Claire Kober in blistering resignation letter

PUBLISHED: 17:26 06 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:52 07 November 2017

Cllr Stuart McNamara, former Haringey Council cabinet member for environment, launched a blistering attack on the leadership of Claire Kober in a letter sent tendering his resignation last Friday. Picture: ARCHANT

Cllr Stuart McNamara, former Haringey Council cabinet member for environment, launched a blistering attack on the leadership of Claire Kober in a letter sent tendering his resignation last Friday. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

A councillor has blasted the leader of Haringey Council for “strangling” services and “squandering” millions of pounds on vanity projects in a blistering resignation letter.

Haringey Council leader cllr Claire Kober thanked cllr McNamara for his seven years' service to the borough. Picture: Tony GayHaringey Council leader cllr Claire Kober thanked cllr McNamara for his seven years' service to the borough. Picture: Tony Gay

In his five-page resignation letter cllr Stuart McNamara calls on Claire Kober to go rather than cause any more harm to the borough after slamming her for using “wrecking ball tactics” and a “horrific wasting of money on vanity projects”.

The former cabinet member for the environment slated the sale of Hornsey Town Hall in Crouch End as a “giveaway” whilst an abandoned proposal to relocate Highgate Library in Shepherd’s Hill to Jacksons Lane arts centre was condemned as a “bad idea”.

“When proposals like these went south you simply carried on without a glimmer of remorse,” cllr McNamara wrote.

But in her reply cllr Kober thanked the Bruce Grove councillor for his service saying she wasn’t surprised at his choice to resign and hailing his decision to stand down before elections next May as “the end of an era”.

But cllr McNamara accused cllr Kober of duping councillors over the size and scale of controversial multi-million pound plans to shift council owned property to a firm jointly run with private developer Lend Lease – known as the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) – now the subject of a judge-led review.

“You seem to have no ability to listen to others or know when something is simply a very bad idea,” cllr McNamara wrote before comparing the leader to former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

He wrote: “Your Thatcheresque ‘I have no reverse gear’ isn’t a sign of strength of leadership but an abysmal flaw whereby you see compromise as weakness.”

But cllr Kober shot back in her reply thanking him for his support in giving the business plan for the HDV a green light, something cllr McNamara has since said he doesn’t recognise.

On tactics cllr Kober came under fire for causing “incalculable damage” to the Haringey Labour Party and having “little or no regard” for members, councillors and the boroughs two MPs, instead hanging on to power through “patronage and punishment”.

He then tore into cllr Kober for trying to humiliate colleagues “to keep us in our places” whilst cllr Kober went on to acknowledge his “love for our borough and party.”

On cllr Kober’s leadership he wrote: “You have operated as though Haringey were your own personal fiefdom, consistently ignoring the views of others.”

And in a parting shot cllr McNamara stated: “If you cannot bring yourself to listen, involve others and change the way you do things, then for the sake of Haringey and of the Labour Party you probably need to just resign before you cause any more harm to this great borough.”

Whilst cllr Kober commented: “There are always compromises we must make to ensure we deliver what is expected, especially in terms of the time we are able to spend with our families.

“I agree the challenge is greater now and will continue to be so, which is why I understand your decision,” she added.

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