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Haringey Council: Cabinet confirmed in an end to a turbulent week for Labour group

PUBLISHED: 17:30 17 May 2019 | UPDATED: 21:12 17 May 2019

Joseph Ejiofor addressing activists and councillors after the 2018 local elections. Picture: Ken Mears

Joseph Ejiofor addressing activists and councillors after the 2018 local elections. Picture: Ken Mears

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Haringey Council leader Joseph Ejiofor has reshuffled his cabinet at the end of a turbulent week in the borough's politics.

Wood Green Civic Centre. Picture: David WinskillWood Green Civic Centre. Picture: David Winskill

In the space of five days, Cllr Ejiofor's former leadership rival won a contest to become his deputy, he sacked his education and families chief, and named his new cabinet.

This was capped off by the Labour group voting against his choices in a ratification vote during a tense Labour group meeting last night. It was the second meeting of its kind this week.

The non-binding ballot was lost 22-18, emphasising the divide in the ruling group.

It's believed one of the reason's for the result was councillors' unhappiness over the sacking of Cllr Elin Weston.

This vote was after a prolonged 20 minute discussion over whether the vote should have been held at all.

On Tuesday, Cllr Ejiofor told the former education and families chief that she was being dropped.

In response, she emailed the Labour group on Thursday afternoon saying his decision was based on "nothing more than pure internal politics, aimed at safeguarding [his] position as leader."

Since then, Cllr Zena Brabazon, who ousted Emina Ibrahim from the deputy leadership of the local party on Monday, has been appointed as her replacement.

Cllr Brabazon was one of the councillors dismissed in the New Year by Cllr Ejiofor, as part of a move to tackle "persistent conflict".

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Months later, she is back at the top table of Haringey politics.

She had previously come close to becoming the leader of the council when she won an indicative members' ballot after last year's local elections.

However the Labour group voted to back Cllr Ejiofor instead. He had previously been deputy leader.

Controversial former leader, Cllr Charles Adje, who led the borough between 2004 and 2006 has been appointed finance chief.

His predecessor, Cllr Pat Berryman, resigned in March, over disagreements about leadership. Cllr Adje held a similar position a decade ago.

The White Hart Lane councillor was suspended from the council for four months in 2011 for "bringing [it] into disrepute" during the sale of Alexandra Palace. The fiasco cost Haringey Council £2m.

Former chief whip, Gideon Bull, who also lost his election on the same night has been asked to head up local investment and economic growth after Cllr Noah Tucker decided not to stand.

Meanwhile Cllr Seema Chandwani, who was elected as councillor for West Green in a by-election last year, will head up street management and neighbourhoods.

Cllr Ejiofor said: "I'm pleased to welcome Cllr Chandwani and Cllr Bull into the Cabinet, I've no doubt that they have the knowledge, passion and experience to drive forward our manifesto commitments and deliver for the residents of Haringey.

"I'd like to thank Cllr Weston for the work and commitment that she invested in performing her Cabinet role for Children & Education over the past 3 years. Over 98% of Haringey schools are currently rated Outstanding or Good by Ofsted. With the election of Cllr Brabazon to the Deputy Leadership, and her experience in children and early care settings, I am convinced that [she] will be able to carry Cllr Weston's work forward.

"I'd also like to thank Cllr Tucker for his work on the Insourcing portfolio this past year, he has delivered a clear change in direction, with our first contracts set to come back 'in house' later this year."

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