The story of Cllr Zaffar Van Kalwala reached a new stage recently, with the conclusion of a Labour Party disciplinary hearing. It concluded that he should remain suspended from Brent Labour Group until 2018, which effectively excludes him from reselection. He remains a member of the Labour Party.
On such occasions, people often speak on a person's behalf. I understand that Cllr Van Kalwala had two well known Brent Labour activists vouching for him. Speaking against was none other than Cllr Muhammed Butt. The lengths to which Cllr Butt will go to exclude Cllr Van Kalwala strike me as extraordinary.
Cllr Van Kalwala was involved in a violent incident. The original incident occurred in 2014 and was detailed by the indefatigable Martin Francis. According to Martin, the victim had planned to take it no further, but Cllr Muhammed Butt apparently persuaded her to involve the police. She seems to have done this without realising that a certain amount of publicity was bound to result. For some time, publicity was limited _ and readers will notice even Martin chooses to refer to "Councillor X" in his report.
There followed a rather odd period when Cllr Van Kalwala was notable by his absence at Council meetings. It turned out that he had been put under legal restrictions in attending Council meetings. This came close to the point when he would have been automatically excluded under the "six month rule" where a councillor who does not attend a Council meeting for six months loses his seat and a by election is held. Some of the oddity of this situation can be gathered from Martin's report of the Council Audit Committee.
That Audit Committee was one of the last meetings that Cllr Van Kalwala could have attended to avoid disqualification. He had been expected to attend an earlier meeting of Full Council in November. This meeting was mysteriously moved to the 8 December. My understanding is that this was done at the request of Cllr Muhammed Butt. It endangered the seats of not only Cllr Van Kalwala, but also Cllrs Duffy and Shahzad.
It is extremely odd behaviour for a Council Leader to apparently seek to create by elections within his own group, not to mention encourage a criminal prosecution against one of them. The moving of Full Council led to interventions by various lawyers as well as the London Labour Party. Eventually all three councillors were able to attend and thus prevent by elections in their seats. In mentioning this saga, Private Eye claimed colleagues were "baffled" by Cllr Butt's behaviour.
One can only speculate as to Cllr Butt's motives.