Islamic Human Rights Commission
15th May 2001
Labour Candidate Apologises to Ombudsman But Not Constituency
Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Brent East, Paul Daisley has had to apologise to the Local Government Ombudsman for stating in a response to possibly hundreds of anti-Racism campaigners that he spoke on behalf of Brent Council.
Daisley answered dozens possibly hundreds of protest letters, about the letting of Brent Town Hall in May 2000 to the Zionist Federation to celebrate Israel Day. His response enclosed a copy of a letter addressed to Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) which he claimed was “on behalf of the council [and] clearly states the Council’s position.” In this letter, he and his Tory counterpart set out their support for Israel, despite the country’s continuing human rights abuses and apartheid system. The Local Government Ombudsman found that:
“The fact is that the Council as a council had not considered the matter and it had no view…on his behalf Councillor Daisley’s Personal Assistant now accepts the letter was wrong to claim that the letter…represented the view of the Council and has apologised…
“Clearly there should not have been this inaccuracy.”
IHRC welcomes the Ombudsman’s finding on this particular issue. However it is saddened to note that Councillor Daisley’s misrepresentations were not severely reprimanded. In previous correspondence to the Ombudsman, Councillor Daisley had stated that he answered all letters and made statements in this matter in a personal capacity only.
Even more disheartening is the fact hat it has taken a year of campaigning to extract this minimal apology from Councillor Daisley, which is made to the Ombudsman but not the campaigners who received such a response; the thousand campaigners who signed a petition to the Council; or IHRC.
IHRC Chairman Massoud Shadjareh stated that:
“Whilst Councillor Daisley’s obduracy and arrogance are a source of continuing disappointment, a clear message has been sent to those in positions of authority, who support apartheid and discrimination either in the UK or overseas, that their actions will no longer go unscrutinised by the local community.
“IHRC also notes that this year there were no ‘Happy Birthday Israel’ celebrations at Brent Town Hall. It seems that the protests of last year have borne fruit.”
For more information, please contact the IHRC Press Office on 020 8902 0888 or 07958 522 196, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.