Haringey Labour Party manifesto signals nail in the coffin for maligned HDV

Deputy Leader of Haringey Council, Jo Ejiofor

Deputy Leader of Haringey Council, Jo Ejiofor - Credit: Harry Taylor

Current deputy leader Cllr Joseph Ejiofor said Claire Kober’s flagship policy “does not provide the answer” on housing in the borough.

Haringey Labour Party launch their local elections manifesto on April 7

Haringey Labour Party launch their local elections manifesto on April 7 - Credit: Haringey Labour Party

The man likely to be a frontrunner to be leader of Haringey council after the council elections is pledging a break with the past after a tumultuous few years for the Labour Party in the borough.

The Haringey Development Vehicle, the flagship policy responsible for the leadership woes of Claire Kober, looks set to be ditched.

In the manifesto, a carefully worded chapter says: “We do not believe that the HDV provides the answer [on housing] and we do not intend to progress with it.”

Joseph Ejiofor, the current deputy leader, is taking the party into the election. He acknowledges the contentious issues by HDV, but is keen to move on from it.

Deputy Leader of Haringey Council, Jo Ejiofor

Deputy Leader of Haringey Council, Jo Ejiofor - Credit: Harry Taylor

“It’s a matter of public record that it was a touchstone issue throughout the Labour Party selection process. It would have been remiss of us not to express our views on its future.

“The building of social, and affordable housing is a common goal of the next administration.”

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In the manifesto, the party has pledged to deliver 1000 new council homes for families on the waiting list by 2022. Cllr Ejiofor said the plans would be similar to Brent Council’s ‘Invest4Brent’ scheme.

He also addressed concerns about possible future intervention by the Labour Party’s ruling body, after their NEC asked the council to stop their HDV plans.

“The NEC involvement was in unique circumstances which in no way undermines the autonomy of a Labour Council.

“At the time the Labour group was split irreconcilably.”

Cllr Ejiofor has been a Haringey councillor for Bruce Grove since 2010, and previously served for 9 years in Newham Council. He is also a member of Labour campaign group Momentum’s national co-ordinating group.

Cllr Kober had said it was Momentum activists who had made the HDV unpopular, when they set up a campaign group against it.

The current leader and her supporters believe the group are eyeing up the council as the first ‘Momentum Council’, triggering comparisons with Militant running Liverpool Council in the 1980s.

However Cllr Ejiofor believes the comparison is disingenuous and overblown.

“The reality is that Momentum is now part of the Labour Party, like the Co-Op, trade unions, and groups like Progress. “All these parts of Labour have their own views and aspirations for how Labour should deliver for the people we represent.

“It’s important all views are heard, but let me be clear; there is no such thing as a Momentum councillors or candidates on Haringey Council, only Labour councillors.”

The 53-year-old launched the manifesto on April 7 alongside Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West, and activists in the borough.

It also includes a build stronger relationships between the community and police, create a non-profit energy company for Haringey residents, and bring street cleaning and bin collection services back under council control.

As deputy leader, Cllr Ejiofor is leading the party into the election. Inside the manifesto’s front cover, readers will find him backing the party’s offer to the voters.

To many, he is an likely candidate to lead the party into the election, and follow in the footsteps of previous black council leaders in Haringey, such as Bernie Grant. However he remains coy about his prospects.

“I believe my political CV stands up on its own merits and deserves consideration, but I’m aware that there will be a number of candidates when the time comes for Labour councillors to make their decision,” he said.