Talib Hussain - formerly Cabinet member for local services and community safety and a one-time Bond villain - claims that he's been sacked because he refused to agree a £6,000 grant to a Bangladeshi community group during the Aston election re-run in June. He says that this group was unable to produce accounts for the council and that he was bullied by his Liberal Democrat colleagues. If only Roger Moore had known it was so easy.
'They were saying it was by-election time and I should have funded the Bangladeshi Welfare Association or delayed stopping the grant.'Before we get dewy eyed over his steadfastness against this political pressure, we should remember that when the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund distribution was recalculated following the June 2004 elections, Cllr Hussain's own ward suddenly found the benefit of hundreds of thousands of pounds withdrawn from other areas of the city. All this was above board, of course. The deprivation index that decides the distribution was simply reviewed.
None of that helped him in the May elections when the voters of Sparkbrook and Small Heath resoundingly rejected Cllr Hussain as a parliamentary candidate.
John Hemming and his crowd attacked, rightly, the scandal of the Aston and Bordesley Green postal votes. Will he now expose those councillors or candidates who pressurised a Cabinet member to spend public money for purely political ends?