Green win: Newham Labour Council forced to submit to opposition scrutiny

  • Newham Council approved a report appointing a Green Party councillor to every council committee after seventeen months of shutting Greens off of vital committees
  • Green Councillor Nate Higgins: "Labour have been hiding from scrutiny for too long. Newham voted for change, and we're going to deliver it"
  • Green Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Danny Keeling: "Greens will work hard to hold this administration to account" 

Monday's meeting of Full Council has agreed[1] to appoint Green Party councillors to every committee on the council, including vital Audit and Chief Officer Appointment committees. This came after a seventeen-month campaign from Green Party councillors claiming the previous approach was not in line with the law.

Green Councillor Nate Higgins (Stratford Olympic Park), who led the campaign, reacted: "This report confirmed that the council was not acting in line with its legal obligations in shutting Green councillors off of vital committees like Audit and Chief Officer Appointments Committee as they have for the last seventeen months."

The council was forced to appoint Greens to committees after legal advice confirmed Green claims that the council was not acting in line with legal obligations. Councillor Higgins said: "We should have and we could have reached this point much sooner. When we were first elected, we made the case that opposition must be represented on our committees. We were told we were wrong. Today's report confirms they should have listened to us then."

Discussing his difficult experience of campaigning for change, Higgins added: "The Labour Party should have been an ally in fighting to ensure our council met legal obligations but they refused. The abuse and gaslighting I have received from the council and from Labour for consistently making the case for the importance of proper scrutiny which is protected in legislation is unacceptable. It is beyond clear that if I was not willing to face up to and withstand the abuse and the attacks, we wouldn’t be here today. I hope I will receive apologies from those responsible. I fear I will not."

Higgins finished: "Last year, when Newham voters chose to have an opposition for the first time in over a decade, they told us that they wanted things to change, and no amount of abuse will stop Greens fighting for that. And now with this report the council can hide from scrutiny no more - we are one step closer to delivering that change."

Green Councillor Danny Keeling, who leads the opposition at Newham Council, said: "Since our election, Greens have been working hard to scrutinise the council across the few committees Labour have allowed us to sit on. Now that legal advice have forced them to accept scrutiny, Greens will work that much harder to hold this administration to account including constitutional changes."



The Green Party are Newham’s main and only opposition party elected to Newham Council. Nate Higgins uses he/him pronouns. Danny Keeling uses they/them pronouns.

The Local Government and Housing Act 1989 s.15(5)(a) requires that no party can be given all the seats on any council committee. Until now the vast majority of committees have been 100% Labour councillors.