When a closely written independent report accuses a prominent London
council of having re-housed homeless families in an asbestos-
contaminated apartment block, for the purposes of undermining a left-
leaning tenants’ association, and moving Labour voters out of marginal
wards, it is hardly surprising that head-line writers begin looking for
soundbites and simpler headlines.
This is what happened to Westminster Council, in the wake of the Barrett
report into the workings of its housing committee, which accused the
council of ‘improper objectives’ and acting for ‘political advantage’.
Battle raged for the political spin to simplify a story of byzantine
complexity. Frank Dobson claimed children’s lives had been put at risk,
and that the councillors involved were unfit for public office.
Elsewhere a police investigation was demanded. Dame Shirley Porter was
effectively the only spokesperson for the defence, arguing that the
report exonerated her.
Evaluation and analysis by Carma International. Cuttings supplied by
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