The publication of Haringey Labour’s first Momentum-drafted manifesto is being held up by a row over wording that could cost millions of pounds.
Haringey Momentum came to power by mobilising Corybn-supporting Labour members against the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) – a public-private venture to provide thousands of homes and jobs in the borough.
It his understood the draft manifesto currently pledges to abandon the HDV. But the wording could leave Haringey Council open to a legal challenge by the successful bidder, Lendlease, who would seek to recoup what they spent in winning the bid, thought to be around £4 million.
Opponents of the HDV took the outgoing Haringey administration to court in an attempt to show that due process hadn’t been followed. The judge instead found in Haringey’s favour and ruled that due process had indeed been followed. The charge of not following due process is one that will now be levelled against Haringey Momentum should they decide to press on with the wording that makes clear the decision is being made for political reasons without a fair and proper evaluation of the policy.
The row is exposing splits between candidates fighting to replace Claire Kober as the next leader of the council. It is believed that a significant faction of candidates, led by Noah Tucker, want the manifesto to prove the new Labour Group’s hard-left credentials by sticking with the wording that could cost the public millions, while others including Councillor Peray Ahmet are understood to be sitting on the fence – Ahmet has called for more legal advice to be sought.
How the row plays out remains to be seen but the public will surely be unforgiving of a manifesto that wastes millions of pounds in legal fees and damages before a vote has even been cast.