Hounslow Council Leader Survives No Confidence Vote

Only opposition councillors support the motion against Steve Curran

Hounslow Council leader Steve Curran in front of political map of the borough
Hounslow Council leader Steve Curran in front of political map of the borough

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Steve Curran, the leader of Hounslow Council, survived a no confidence motion presented to a meeting of the borough council this Tuesday evening (11 November).

The motion, which was tabled by the borough’s ten Conservative councillors proposed by group leader Cllr Gerald McGregor and seconded by former group leader Cllr Joanna Biddolph, received no support from the 45 Labour members at the meeting that was held virtually

The vote was prompted by growing anger over controversial traffic-calming measures in Chiswick. Cllr McGregor said a vote of no confidence in the council leader was the only means available to voice the opposition to how the traffic changes have been handled.

A petition to reverse the road changes in Chiswick and in support of the no confidence vote achieved over 4,000 signatures which its sponsors claim makes it the biggest petition online in Hounslow Council’s history.

Prior to the vote Cllr McGregor said. "The anger in Chiswick is so great, we felt a drastic move was our only option. It is reflected elsewhere in the borough but nowhere else has had so many road schemes imposed on them, and certainly not in such an exaggerated and concentrated way as here in Chiswick. We could not treat this borough council meeting as if it were normal council business, subject to the usual Labour charade of tabling earnest and worthy motions, or seeing opposition motions amended to meaninglessness, having Labour councillors wallow in self-praise,"

More than 2,000 people signed a petition warning Hounslow Council to consult with residents over the “chaotic at best” changes in South Chiswick, while more than 8,000 people have signed a further petition addressing Ealing and Hounslow Councils in opposing the closure of Fishers Lane and Turnham Green Terrace to cars, which they say has increased congestion and impacted businesses.

A statement from the Save Chiswick High Road campaign said, “The actions of the council are ruining people’s lives and destroying businesses.

“Chiswick is gridlocked, not accessible by delivery vehicles, bus timetables are shot, impassable for emergency services and yesterday [November 4] even the Queen and her entourage were held up on Chiswick High Road.”

Nearly 2,500 people have signed the petition so far, which also accuses the council of ignoring their duty of care to residents, particularly the “frail, elderly and vulnerable”.

Hounslow Council’s Labour group chair, Cllr Salman Shaheen, said, “All LTNs will be reviewed after six months and we will take on board all resident feedback.”

He added that the Labour group “utterly rejects” the Conservatives’ motion which “attempts to sow discord when unity is needed”.

“Now more than ever, people in Hounslow want to see councillors from both parties working together to support them in these unprecedented times,” he said.

“It’s a shame that in bringing forward this motion the Tories are putting their own interests above those of our residents. We would much rather be working with them to support our most vulnerable residents and protect the 40,000 jobs that could be lost as a result of the threat to the airline industry. Instead, the Conservatives are more interested in acting the Nasty Party. They are, as always, behind the curve.”

The council meeting can be viewed here.

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November 11, 2020

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