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Two Haringey councillors lose leadership roles

PUBLISHED: 12:19 18 May 2015 | UPDATED: 12:19 18 May 2015

Cllr Sarah Elliott, former leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition.

Cllr Sarah Elliott, former leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition.

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Both the Labour and Liberal Democrat groups on Haringey Council have made controversial changes to their leadership.

Former scrutiny chair Cllr Gideon Bull.Former scrutiny chair Cllr Gideon Bull.

Cllr Gideon Bull, who after holding the position for 11 years, was the longest serving council scrutiny chair in the country, was ousted in favour of a fellow Labour councillor.

The watchdog committee in Haringey, which scrutinises decisions made by the Labour-run council, will now be headed up by Woodside councillor Charles Wright.

Former scrutiny chair and White Hart Lane councillor Bull was recognised for being sticking by his principles, and for being outspoken, but was voted out by the Labour group, a decision that was said to be down to him suffering ill health recently.

Cllr Bull said: “I stood, but I’m glad that I lost because I’m in very bad health, I’ve been in hospital.

“My colleagues decided that I needed a break, the main reason the cardiologists said I ended up in hospital was because of too much stress.

“Obvisouly I’m disappointed, but it’s time for a change.

“I won’t be back, it’s time for someone else to take on that role.

“One never enjoys being beaten, but I’m happy to have been beaten by Charles Wright, because he’s a good man and he’ll do some good work in that area.”

Cllr Pippa Connor, the Lib Dem nominee, was also put forward for the position, but is instead now Vice Chair of the committee.

The Labour group did not make any other changes to its leadership, following its Annual Meeting last Monday.

But Haringey Liberal Democrats have announced both a new Leader and Deputy Leader following their own Annual Meeting on Wednesday night.

The new leader of the opposition in Haringey is former deuputy opposition leader and Muswell Hill councillor Gail Engert, and her Deputy is Cllr Liz Morris of Highgate.

Engert replaced former opposition leader Sarah Elliott, who was reportedly forced out of the role in a “velvet coup” for not being critical enough of the Labour administration.

Cllr Gail Engert, Lib Dem Leader of the Opposition, refused to be drawn on why Cllr Elliott had been replaced.

She said: “I am privileged to be leading a dedicated group of Liberal Democrat councillors. We will continue to work together to hold the Labour Leadership of the council to account and represent our residents.

“With no Conservative or Green councillors in Haringey the Liberal Democrats remain the only opposition to Labour.”

Cllr Liz Morris, Lib Dem Deputy Leader of the Opposition, added: “I look forward to taking on my new role as Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Haringey. We have a great team of councillors who work very hard for local residents.”

Cllr Elliott could not be reached for comment.

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