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HOUSING campaigners and Labour members responded with dismay today after Haringey council leader Claire Kober accused them of “sexism and bullying.”
Ms Kober accused opponents of the controversial Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) of being “intimidating” and part of a “toxic culture."
Her comments on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show followed her announcement that she will resign as Haringey’s leader following May’s local elections.
But hours before her appearance on the show, emails reportedly sent by Ms Kober indicated her preparation of “dossiers” against political opponents, including sitting councillors.
The television programme did not give opponents of the Haringey Development Vehicle a chance to respond to Ms Kober’s claims, provoking accusations of bias.
Ms Kober’s record has been dogged by the HDV, a plan to place £2 billion worth of public land and assets into a partnership with private developer LendLease.
The scheme has been widely opposed, with key criticisms being its secrecy, a lack of resident engagement, the amount of power and property being handed to the private sector and a shortage of guaranteed, genuinely affordable housing for locals.
Internal Labour elections for council candidates have returned a majority of anti-HDV contenders and the party’s national executive stepped in last week to express its opposition to the HDV.
Ms Kober also claimed that criticism of her competence was motivated by sexism, pointing to her record as “the most senior councillor in London.”
But Tottenham Labour member Seema Chandwani pointed out that Ms Kober’s allies had attacked HDV opponents including female MP Catherine West.
She said: “We do feminism a disservice when we lose a political debate and blame it on sexism. We’re pretty proud of our track record in having more than the rule-book minimum of women in positions.”
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