Brent Labour councillor Dhiraj Kataria joins Liberal Democrats

Lorber KatariaBrent Council’s Liberal Democrat contingent was strengthened today when West Harp councillor Dhiraj Kataria left Labour to join them.

He gave his reasons as:

I have become increasingly disillusioned by the way the Brent Labour Group has operated – and particularly by the top-down way in which that it has been led. I feel decisions taken by the Labour Group and Labour Executive members, such as closing half our libraries and cutting street cleaning, have been against the interests of my constituents.

I have been impressed by the Liberal Democrat Group’s commitment to transparency and open debate on Brent Council and intend to serve the remainder of my council term as a Liberal Democrat councillor.

He was particularly upset by Labour’s refusal to let volunteers from the local communities run the libraries rather than have them closed and the parking chaos caused after the parking scratchcard system was scrapped, particularly for older residents. While Labour cut services, they continued to spend thousands on parties while cutting community festivals and £12,000 on a virtual receptionist.

Brent remains the only Labour facing borough where the Liberal Democrats have successfully defended a seat at a by-election, when Alison Hopkins won Dollis Hill last year.

Dhiraj’s ward is in Sarah Teather’s Brent Central constituency. The shortlist for the candidate for that seat is expected to be announced imminently.

Cllr Paul Lorber, pictured above with Dhiraj, welcomed him to the Liberal Democrats:

Dhiraj had a ring-side view of Labour’s mistakes in Brent. I am delighted to welcome him into the Liberal Democrats. He has a record of service on the council, particularly on the Planning Committee where he has stood up for local residents and as Vice-Chair of the important Budget and Finance Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

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  • John Clough 3rd Dec '13 - 5:10pm

    Is this the same Cllr Kataria who told a constituent to “go to hell” in an email earlier this year, being forced to apologise and barred from standing for Labour in 2014? Perhaps this announcement of his defection will deflect attention from the fact that The Lib Dem councillor for Dudden Hill in Brent has recently resigned, having not, apparently, attended a full council meeting since June, due to hm relocating to Brighton. A spokesman for the party proudly announced that because this councillor had resigned less than six months from the 2014 elections that his action had saved £25,000 i.e. the cost of a by election. No mention made of robbing the residents of Dudden Hill of representation on the council for 11 months.

  • decisions taken by the Labour Group and Labour Executive members, such as closing half our libraries

    It is APPALLING that Brent Labour Party is shutting half the borough’s libraries !!!

    I hope all Liberal Democrats – in Brent and across the country – will continue to campaign for and support local libraries.

  • A Social Liberal 3rd Dec '13 - 11:41pm

    Our PPC was a man who moved from the Labour Party to us in a matter of principles. Just before the General Election he resigned and shortly after – in a matter of principles – joined the Tories.

    All I can say is, be careful who you embrace.

  • Peter Tyzack 4th Dec '13 - 10:46am

    in the photo they appear to be leaning to the right.. hmm..

  • Manoj Gandhi 8th Jul '14 - 10:14pm

    Witness of £3 billion in schools and college please talk to me..

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