As of last week, RESPECT was reported to have a councillor in Birmingham - Cllr Talib Hussain, onetime darling of the Liberal Democrats and the man who was soundly thrashed by the RESPECT candidate in the Sparkbrook & Small Heath parliamentary constituency as recently as last May, was alleged to have joined forces with the redoubtable Ms Yacoub. You may recall that he was unceremoniously dumped last autumn and has spent the past few months sitting on the Labour side in the Council chamber, coincidentally right in front of Sir Albert. He was accused of bringing the Liberal Democrat party into disrepute (Mark Oaten, take note), while the real cause was him refusing to do as he was told and agreeing grants to key groups in the middle of an election campaign.Councillor Hussain has already branded the 'progressive partnership' a 'one race party' and said that
'They made sure they removed the only Asian. They now have ten white cabinet members. I was the only one from the inner city. I am quite disillusioned with mainstream politics. you have black and Asian councillors but they have no influence. The only place where the decisions are made is the cabinet.'
To be fair, heading across to the RESPECT crew was hardly going to give him influence. Can't wait to see Gorgeous George in his leotard, prowling the streets of Sparkbrook and Springfield to try and convince the voters to join his merry band.
As expected, Cllr Hemming responded generously, saying that,
'Basically he did a really bad job and we sacked him. it is as simple as that.'There's an odd postscript to this.
A reliable source tells me today that, despite what the local press reported on Saturday and contrary to rumours around the Council House last week, Cllr Hussain remains an Independent councillor. Curiouser and curiouser.