Haringey Council’s finance chief Pat Berryman resigns over disagreements about leadership

Cllr Pat Berryman at a Haringey cabinet meeting in 2018. Picture: David Winskill

Cllr Pat Berryman at a Haringey cabinet meeting in 2018. Picture: David Winskill - Credit: Archant

Haringey Council’s finance chief has resigned this lunchtime, citing “decisions being taken over [his] head” and concerns about Cllr Joseph Ejiofor’s leadership of the council.

In a letter to Labour colleagues and cabinet members earlier today, Cllr Pat Berryman said he was proud of the council’s achievements, but felt there hadn’t been “proper process and consultation” about key manifesto commitments.

Mr Berryman met with council leader Joseph Ejiofor yesterday afternoon, before announcing his resignation today.

Speaking to the Ham&High, he said: “I regret that we are in this position but clearly things are not going the way of my expectations for the borough I grew up in.”

The resignation is the third chance in Haringey’s cabinet this year. Peray Ahmet and Zena Brabazon were sacked at New Year as the leader cited “persistent conflict”.

The councillor for Bounds Green hit out at Cllr Ejiofor’s leadership, and addressed him directly in the letter. He said: “The responsibility for a functioning Cabinet and group resides with the leader. Your choices since New Year’s Eve, when you arbitrarily sacked two colleagues, do not reflect the promises made when you were elected and have not made things better.

“In fact, they’ve made things worse and ultimately threaten the stability and finances of this council.

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“When I joined your cabinet last year, I had expected by this time that we would have in place plans to make our group more democratic. Unfortunately, despite many noises about ‘the party’ and ‘democracy’ none of these changes have happened.”

Cllr Berryman, who represented Fortis Green ward until the election last year supported Cllr Brabazon in last year’s leadership contest. His resignation is the latest part of a divide in the Labour group in the council chamber.

He also claimed some of the group’s election winning manifesto were being watered down or ignored, which is thought to refer to Haringey’s bid to build 1000 council homes.

His letter said: “As well as this, I have been put me in difficult situations when last minute finance decisions have been taken over my head without my, or seemingly anyone else’s, input that involves our budget, our capital plans and even how councillors are paid. I can no longer support decisions that I consider to be financially risky and imprudent.

Cllr Ejiofor said: “I am saddened by the resignation of Pat Berryman, and would like to thank him for his work, commitment and dedication over the past 10 months. However, I strongly disagree with the reasons behind his resignation and restate my absolute commitment to delivering our manifesto pledges and running a prudent and collegiate administration”.”

Cllr Berryman said he would continue to serve the council from the backbenches.