New mayor for Hounslow chosen without election

Image above: Cllr Afzaal Kiani

Decision to appoint branded “undemocratic”

The Hounslow Labour Party has held its AGM and selected a new mayor for the coming year.

Usually the mayor is elected. The members are asked to vote for their preferred candidate. This time The Chiswick Calendar understands the members were not given a choice. Instead the Leader, Shantanu Rajawat, expected the membership to rubber stamp his selection – Cllr Afzaal Kiani.

Cllr Kiani represents Hounslow Heath ward. Though popular in the west end of the borough, we understand Labour Party members in Brentford and Isleworth may not have voted for him, had they been given the choice.

Messages from a Labour group WhatsApp group were published on the Brentford Today & TV Facebook page which questioned the wisdom of the selection. Not only is the process seen as undemocratic but they fear the choice of candidate might bring them bad press. One mentioned a concern the Council may feature in Private Eye because of it.

Cllr Kiani was dismissed from his job with the Home Office as an immigration officer in 2014. He was suspended, his security clearance withdrawn, and then dismissed, all without any reason being given to him.

He took the Home Office to an Employment Tribunal claiming he had been sacked because of discrimination against him on the grounds of race or religion, but he lost his appeal. The judge, Mr Justice Langstaff, ruled that the Home Office had been within its rights to dismiss him without telling him why because of reasons pertaining to national security.

He was dismissed on the basis that he no longer met the requirements set out in government vetting policy. This may have been because his wife worked for a company called Global Immigration Management Ltd which provided advice on citizenship and immigration issues including work permits, but as the Home Office do not have to tell him why he was sacked, that remains speculation.

He now works as an independent consultant. The position of mayor is largely ceremonial. He will be taking over from Councillor Raghwinder Siddhu, who represents Bedfont ward.

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