Home

Liberal Democrats demand better for Britain. We want to give all our children a brighter future in a fairer Britain where people are decent to each other, with good schools and hospitals, a clean environment and an innovative economy. Read more

12.30 pm Sat 2nd Nov: Join Sam Gyimah MP for a private election briefing

This is it. This is the last moment to Stop Brexit. If ever there was a time to get involved in politics, it’s now. Join Sam this Saturday!

Read more

Rabina Khan appointed as special advisor to LibDem Leader in the House of Lords

The Liberal Democrats are delighted to announce that Rabina Khan, previously PPC for Kensington and  European parliamentary candidate, has been appointed as the new Communities Special Advisor to their Leader in the House of Lords, Lord Newby.

Read more

Lib Dems announce Nicola Horlick as prospective parliamentary candidate for Chelsea & Fulham

key_NH_CANVASSING.png

We are excited to let you know that today Nicola Horlick has been appointed as our prospective candidate for Chelsea & Fulham at the next parliamentary election. This is a game-changer for Chelsea & Fulham, and a chance to remove the Conservative MP, change the parliamentary maths, and get an outstanding Liberal Democrat MP into parliament.

 

 

Read more

Kensington & Chelsea Lib Dems March to STOP BREXIT

key_march_1.jpg

On Satuday the Lib Dems marched alongside thousands of protesters in London to demand better than Brexit. Calling for an end to the no deal nonsense and for the UK to remain in the EU.

Read more

Chuka Umunna joins Lib Dems

key_chuka.jpg

London now has four Liberal Democrat MPs after welcoming Chuka Umunna to the party.

Read more

Lib Dems win in Kensington and Chelsea! THANK YOU!

key_london_meps.jpg

Thank you! Across the city the Lib Dems have seen great successes with us coming first across London and achieving a whopping 3 MEPs! In Kensington and Chelsea 36% of voters chose our positive, pro-European message and liberal values.

We couldn't have done this without you, our volunteers and voters! THANK YOU!!

Read more

Alexandra Tatton-Brown for Dalgarno

Alex_LibDems.jpg

Dear Neighbour,

Demand Better in the Dalgarno By-Election on Thursday 21 March 2019

I have lived in the area for 30 years with my husband Joe. We have raised our children here and are active members of many community groups. In my job as a Breastfeeding Counsellor, I run a drop-in clinic at St Peter’s on Kensington Park Road, as well as working at St Mary’s in Paddington.

Along with my neighbours, the local people we’ve met at our street stalls, and my colleagues in the local Party we’re concerned about the rising crime, poor air quality, and the impacts of Brexit on Dalgarno, and on the wider borough.

These are issues that have been raised time and again by the local Conservative and Labour parties during election campaigns, yet for years their Councillors have failed to deliver the change we all need.

Nationally, constant Conservative cuts have left our Police without adequate resources. While Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan has closed our Notting Hill Police Station, and is failing to tackle rising knife violence and moped crime across West London. We want to increase numbers of local Police officers, that work in our communities, and do so in a coordinated strategy with our other public services.

Despite past promises, the air quality around the Westway has not been addressed. Our local Councillor Linda Wade, working with local community groups and universities, has managed to petition and pressure the Council and London Assembly into enforcing vehicle pollution measures - but the Council need to do much more to clean up our air, particularly in the North of our borough.

With what looks like a No Deal Brexit due on 29 March, this election on Thursday 21 March will be the last time you can vote to tell Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn that you will not accept this national disaster. The Liberal Democrats have always been committed to a People’s Vote and will continue to campaign to remain in Europe.

Labour assume this is a safe seat and that their Party can simply choose who will sit in it. Please consider a vote for me on Thursday 21 March, for a new voice to challenge the old status quo in the Council.

With best wishes

Alexandra Tatton-Brown

Alex_LibDems2.jpg


EU Nationals & Brexit

BREXIT and EU nationals

Liberal Democrats, passionately believe that as part of the European Union Britain’s relationship with its neighbours is better and stronger. Whatever its imperfections, the EU remains the best framework for co-operating and  working effectively to pursue our shared aims.

Our 40+ year membership of the EU has led directly to greater prosperity, increased trade, investment and jobs, better security, and a greener environment. In addition, many EU nationals call our part of London their home, including Earl’s Court.

If you are one of Kensington and Chelsea's many EU residents we encourage you to vote on May 3.

Read more

Cllr Wade and Cllr Lomas introduce Motion for Debate at Council Meeting

MOTION FOR DEBATE

  1. (i)  “This Council has recognised the need for radical change. This is to be welcomed, and it is hoped that this will create the opportunity for more inclusion and consultation with minority parties so that decisions made reflect the diversity and needs of the borough.”

Mover: Cllr Linda Wade
Seconder: Cllr Andrew Lomas

 

Accompanying speeches supporting the motion:

Cllr. Wade:

We must recognise that with the outcome of the General Election, and in the aftermath of Grenfell Tower, that as a Council we need to take stock, and ask ourselves whether we are fit for purpose, and delivering the services, to a standard that our residents require?

The Council’s image has been one of best value for money, chasing the lowest Council Tax, being prudent and careful with money, with the Majority Party congratulating itself that RBKC has one of the largest Cash Reserves in the country.

At the same time the Council has sold off leases on borough freehold properties to private companies rather than develop the properties for borough benefit as with Thamesbrook and North Kensington Library. Is this not like Selling off the Family Silver?

For many residents, the Planning Department is felt to be pro-developer rather than resident, and there is a lack of rigour, transparency, accountability and enforcement when it comes to developers and the impact on the quality of the lives of our residents of as a consequent of development.

The scandal being that Planning Gain has not delivered the additional social rented housing that we require, regardless of the Council policy, and with developers routinely getting around the provision with payments in lieu of nearly £50m over the last 5 years. The Council should make it a priority to build a range of genuinely affordable homes and not leave it to developers to fulfil.

The 77-acre Earl’s Court development is a prime example of a failure to deliver additional social rented homes as well as the failure to replace the lost Exhibition Centre.

The requirement from Central Government for austerity, has contributed to cuts, but the self-imposed underspend by the Council and cut-backs on services across the Council poses the question, whether we have undermined the efficacy across many of our departments?

As the Tri-borough arrangement collapses, have we been too reliant on other boroughs in their commissioning of our services, do we apply sufficient scrutiny to these contracts to establish whether they meet our needs, as a borough?

This raises the question, as to whether the structure of our Adult and Children Social Services to be able to cope on the dislocation of Hammersmith and Fulham from the Tri-borough arrangements, and still serve the long-term needs of Grenfell Tower Survivors, in addition to our existing users?

Why was the original Emergency Planning Team disbanded and incorporated into Community Safety? It cannot be realistic to expect a series of well-meaning community groups to be able to handle a situation as complex as Grenfell Tower, a situation which even a National response found daunting. It is sincerely hoped that there will be a review of that decision and a report be generated.

And so, I would ask the new leader to consider and incorporate into any review the following:

That the Grenfell Emergency requires an area based committee made of wards affected by the disaster, headed local ward councillors. The committee’s role will be to oversee the coordination of the Council response locally, be resourced appropriately, with officers reporting directly to this committee.

Is it not time that we had a cross-party committee system reflecting the diversity of the borough? A committee system would promote transparency of decision making and an accountability through voting.

And is it not time that nominations to key committees should be based on interest and ability rather than a party-political nomination?

In conclusion:

Our reputation, as an authority, has been disgraced, we did not deliver, we have been found wanting. Given the new leader’s wish for radical change, it is expected that she will fulfil on her aspiration and there will be an overall review of how we function, and operate as a Council, so that we can learn from our mistakes and look to a future which meets the needs of our diverse community and put residents back at the centre of our policies and services.

 

Cllr. Lomas:

MM, this motion calls for a more inclusive X-party way of working in this council

I hope it has the support of members from across the spectrum

The amendment appears to me to be a good faith attempt to put flesh on the bones of our motion

However, before I get going and set out our position on the amendment, a couple of housekeeping points:

(1)    First, I’d be grateful if either of Cllrs Littler or Baktiar were able to clarify what is meant by:

                      “…re-introducing a committee based system of scrutiny…”

Specifically, it’s my understanding that the old committee system had no scrutiny role: the committees collectively exercised an executive role which was replaced by individual cabinet members under the Local Government Act 2000 reforms. I’d therefore like to know if the word “scrutiny” is included in error and if not what system the amendment favours “re-introducing”.

(2)    In the same vein, if we look at Roman 3, which states inter alia that power needs to be defused – I presume that is meant to say diffused – diffused away from the town hall, whether what they are talking about is requesting a community governance review within the meaning of Local Government and Public Involvement and Health Act 2007, or whether it is something different.

If it is a review within the scope of 2007 Act, whether the amendment accepts the need for associated devolution of spending powers with the result that there may be less money available in the North. If it is a review outside the scope of the 2007 Act, what framework the amendment proposes to adopt to identify “community action groups/consultancy boards of sufficient authority”.

 

MM, I am not asking those questions to nit-pick: it’s important to understand the basis upon which this amendment is brought before we can consider supporting it.

For my part, we would support an independent review into different ways of organising the Council but such a review should not limit it to a fixed end-point such as adopting the committee system. Whilst instinctively we would favour a form of committee based decision making, if we are going to have a review we should approach such an exercise with an open mind.

There are different models that we could adopt:

(1)    A leader-cabinet system with individual cabinet member decision-making, which is what we have now.

(2)    A leader-cabinet system with collective cabinet decision-making has collective decision-making at cabinet, with a leader who chooses to act accordingly [LB Sutton, pre-2012].

(3)    A mayor, with various different approaches to cabinet autonomy; different mayors take different approaches to the appointment of their cabinets, and the amount of powers those cabinets have.

(4)    A traditional committee system [eg, Nottinghamshire CC] with a relatively large number of service committees which will often align fairly closely with council departments and a coordinating policy and resources committee. This approach will usually require frequent meetings to deal with cross-cutting issues and, hence, careful planning by officers [this, I think is what the amendment is calling for].

(5)    A streamlined committee system [eg, Brighton and Hove] with two or three service committees, and one or more overview and scrutiny committees. [this also could be what the amendment is calling for].

(6)    A hybrid system [eg, Kent CC] whereby a cabinet ratifies decisions made by a number of cabinet committees. This requires a political assurance by the leadership that such ratification will happen.

There are, therefore, a range constitutional options that this council could adopt.

But before we get there, we should think about design principles behind any constitutional change.

4 key areas:

(1)    The member/officer relationship.

There should be a commitment to involve all members in the policy development and decision making process, through scrutiny, area committees, partnership boards and cabinet decision-making as appropriate.

Need to avoid the perception of an officer-led process where only cabinet members have a stake in decision-making and non-executives are relegated to the position of passive spectators.

(2)    Forward planning/work programming occurs.

There should be greater clarity and consistency in the way that officers approach policy development and decision-making, with plans being kept to and important, strategic decisions identified. Better forward planning would also assist scrutiny: too often on scrutiny committees we’re faced with imminent key decisions and little relevant background.

(3)    The way that information about decisions (including background papers) is published and used.

There needs to be more of a proactive effort to publish background papers as they are produced, and attempts to respond positively when the assumptions in those background papers are challenged by others. We need to avoid an an opaque system where attempts are not made to justify decisions and engagement is tightly controlled through consultation processes that are wholly divorced from the formal decision-making cycle. [Local plan]

(4)    The way that the council involves the public in major decisions.

We need a commitment on major policy changes to engage those most affected by those changes to avoid the perception that without a tight grip by the executive, the public will derail necessary decisions.

The greatest decision that the public should be involved in is how this council should be constituted.

That is why I have submitted a petition under the Local Authorities (Referendums) (Petitions) Regulations 2011, the prayer of which reads:

“We, the undersigned, being local government electors for the area of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, to whom this petition is addressed, seek a referendum on whether the council should be run in a different way by one or more committees made up of elected councillors.”

If 5% of RBKC electors – a number Mr Redpath has verified as being 4710 – sign the petition, there will be a referendum

If the residents of this borough vote for change, then that vote will be binding

MM, it is right that we address ourselves to how we improve the culture of cooperation here in the Council. That is what our motion is about.

It is right that we provide members with the resources to perform their role effectively. I think that it what the amendment is about.

But the electors should have the say on institutional arrangements we adopt. People feel cut out of decision making: let’s give them a chance to have a say.

 

MM, I therefore commend this motion to the chamber and – subject to answers to my 2 questions – am happy to support the amendment.


Response Cllr Lomas to the Grenfell Petition

1. THE PETITION

1.1. The prayer of the petition is:

We, the undersigned, who live or work in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, demand the immediate resignation of the full cabinet of RBKC. The Cabinet’s decisions across a series of departments have culminated in the horrifying and completely avoidable loss of life in the catastrophic fire at Grenfell Tower on the 14th of June 2017. Given the Council’s failure to respond to the litany of safety and fire concerns raised by Grenfell Tower residents, we have no confidence in this Council’s ability to manage or build public buildings and therefore demand the immediate cessation of all regeneration projects, particularly the construction of new buildings, but including the demolition, or ‘improvement’ of current buildings stock – projects of the kind that the current cabinet have shown themselves grossly incapable of managing.

Our demands:

  • The immediate resignation of the full cabinet of the Council
  • An immediate halt of all building projects managed by the Council and associated demolition/transfer of buildings
  • An urgent review of all major planning decisions
  • A full suspension of all ‘regeneration’ projects and local master plans, including estates
  • New community co-designed master plans for key North Kensington areas, including Latimer, Westway and Earl’s Court.

 

MM, the events of a month ago have left a physical and emotional scar on this borough, on London, and on the Country.

The burnt out shell of Grenfell keeps a silent vigil over us.

The faces of the victims peer out from posters stuck on walls and in shop windows.

The eyes of the media have been directed on this Borough like never before.

But the posters are already being taken down.

The media will eventually move on to the next story.

And at that point it will be incumbent on this Council – on members in this chamber – to find a way to work together in the interests of everyone.

Because this Council is the only legitimate body able and equipped to represent the people of this borough.

Its legitimacy is founded on the democratic elections that put all of us in this chamber.

But that legitimacy also depends on - and can only be sustained by - retaining the trust and consent of those we aspire to represent.

 

MM, I recognise that the new leader has talked about the need to rebuild that trust

She has apologised whole-heartedly for this Council’s response to the tragedy at Grenfell

For that she should be given credit.

Further, it is only right that the new leadership be given the time and space to put things right: they deserve a chance.

But a chance is not a blank cheque.

The problem facing this council, this chamber, is existential. If the council fails then each of us has failed individually and collectively.

 

MM, that is why I cannot support this petition.

It wants to create a vacuum when what we need is substance.

                        It’s pursuing a decapitation strategy when we need a clear head.

 In the weeks and months ahead, it is going to take humility and courage from all of us in this chamber to try and build the kind of borough we are all proud to live in and represent.

The humility to accept when we get things wrong

to recognise that none of us has a monopoly on knowledge

to put others before our own political self-interest.

 And the courage to work together, across party lines

to offer leadership and take difficult decisions.

to sooth and not inflame.

Because sometimes it’s more important to find common ground. To work together.

 

MM, the majority group have offered the minority parties on this council roles in the new administration.

It’s a brave thing to do.  

                        It’s the right thing to do.

An all-party way forward represents to best chance to mend our politics, repair our communities, and rebuild trust in this council.

 But it has to be a genuinely all party approach for it to work.

 In that regard, I am seconding a motion on cross-party working later.

The amendment to it, as far as I can understand it, appears to favour this council moving to the committee system.

Institutionalised power-sharing.

Now, we can come to the whys and the wherefores of different systems later when our motion is debated.

 But in the meantime, whatever constitution this Council choses is only half the picture

If we cannot foster a collaborative culture in the here and now – at a time of this council’s greatest crisis – when will we?

            When will we?

                        It will be different rules but the same old divisions.

 So whilst I recognise the very real grievances that have brought the petitioners here tonight, I cannot support their aims.

            Instead of resignations and recriminations we need reconciliation.

                       

The memory of those who lost their lives cannot be sustained by anger alone.


Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or Email.