Leeds East Labour MP to be grilled by councillors over role in regeneration fiasco

Labour MP George Mudie is to appear before Leeds city councillors to answer questions about his role in the attempted hijack of a council-led committee being set up to oversee housing and regeneration in east Leeds.

Councillors have been trying to get to the bottom of the bizarre sequence of events that could have left the council’s reputation as a transparent planning authority in tatters. So far without success.

What they’re trying to establish is who wrote a series of controversial papers drawn up and distributed ahead of a planned first meeting of the committee, a sub board of the council-led Leeds Initiative’s Housing and Regeneration Board.

The papers gave the sub-board inordinate control over future development in east Leeds, were highly critical of Leeds City Council’s executive, and openly promoted a private sector initiative known as New East Leeds, led by the local Chamber of Commerce and developers involved in the Thorpe Park business area. The papers also included a proposed make-up of the sub-board that included three officers of the local Chamber of Commerce, with Leeds East Labour MP George Mudie as the chair.

Councillors grilled the top brass of the Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber about the authorship of the papers at a Scrutiny Board meeting just under a month ago, but got no satisfactory answers. Since then they’ve written formally to the Chamber repeating their questions, but have had no reply.

So now they’ve summoned the Chamber’s Executive Gary Williamson back to a further meeting on 29th November “to respond to further questions following information which has come to light concerning the commissioning of those reports”.

Also invited to attend the meeting is Mr Mudie – whose name came up repeatedly during the debate on the issue at a full session of the Council last Wednesday.

Following that debate we wrote to Mr Mudie to ask him if he might give us his version of events. We have had no reply.

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