Former Haringey Council leader removed as Labour Party election candidate

Cllr Joseph Ejiofor explains the increase in council tax

Former Haringey Council leader Joseph Ejiofor has been removed from Labour's list of approved election candidates - Credit: Sam Volpe

The former Labour leader of Haringey Council has been blocked from standing for the party in this year’s local elections.

Joseph Ejiofor claimed on Twitter that the decision was linked to recent criticism of him in a Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) report.

The Ham&High understands Cllr Ejiofor was approved in autumn as a Labour candidate, but was called before a panel last week which reversed the decision.

An appeal hearing was held on Saturday, February 19, but the panel upheld the decision to rescind his candidacy.

Cllr Ejiofor, who led the council from 2018 to 2021, has now exhausted the appeals process, meaning he cannot stand in Haringey unless it is for another party or as an independent.

Labour declined on Monday, February 21, to give a reason for Cllr Ejiofor’s deselection.

Its London region issued a statement, saying: “All prospective and sitting councillors are subject to internal Labour Party selection processes, including checks on their personal probity, which are applied in the same manner to all prospective candidates.”

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Around 50 Labour members learned of the decision in a virtual meeting on Sunday, February 20, to select candidates for the council ward of Tottenham Central.

But when Cllr Ejiofor was proposed, a member of the party’s London regional team informed those present that he was no longer eligible to represent Labour in Haringey elections.

Cllr Ejiofor confirmed his removal from the list later that day.

His removal as a candidate came one month after he was criticised in an LGO investigation report.

The watchdog found Cllr Ejiofor had taken a “flawed” decision, without proper consideration of the evidence or adherence to council procedures, to call off a regeneration project which had already cost the council millions of pounds.

Cllr Ejiofor said: “Obviously I am surprised and saddened by the Labour Party’s decision to remove me as a councillor. I think that both the Black community and the people of Tottenham have lost a strident voice championing their cause. 

“To my great personal distress, I feel I have been targeted by my own party in a Kafkaesque process resulting in an unjust ruling. 

“After all, how can it be right that someone is asked to submit their defence before even hearing the charges? 

“Eventually, the charges were revealed to concern my decision not to knock down seven council houses or to pay a resident three times the value of his home."

The LGO's report considered whether Cllr Ejiofor was right to call off the development and whether the complainant and his neighbour had been treated even-handedly.

It did not say that the complainant had asked to be paid three times the value of his home.

Cllr Ejiofor continued: "My other supposed breach was, unbelievably, to support changing the name of Black Boy Lane. 

“In other words, I am being punished for standing up for my community. Unfortunately, I am unable to share further details at this time while I take legal advice on further avenues to appeal this unfair and unsustainable ruling.”

For more, read:

'Cover-up': Council withheld evidence from watchdog 'behind leader's back'

Watchdog: Ex-council leader's conduct over housing development was 'flawed'