Sheffield Green accuses Labour councillor of ‘lying’ in row over red line zones

Green councillors have called a Labour member of Sheffield City Council a liar over comments he made on red line zones proposed for two main roads.
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The row broke out at a meeting of Sheffield City Council yesterday (February 20). Greens and Labour traded accusations over proposals to give buses priority on junctions along Abbeydale and Ecclesall Roads. These could include 12-hour bus lanes and the use of red routes to enforce illegal parking.

The idea has been met with opposition, especially from businesses that fear they will suffer if customers can no longer park nearby.

Green councillor Alexi Dimond demanded an apology from Labour councillor Mazher Iqbal over his claims about council Green group leader Coun Douglas Johnson when he was a council cabinet member in an interview on Radio Sheffield with breakfast show presenter Toby Foster.

Sheffield City Council member Coun Mazher Iqbal, who was accused of lying about the actions of Green councillor Douglas Johnson on a BBC Radio Sheffield interviewSheffield City Council member Coun Mazher Iqbal, who was accused of lying about the actions of Green councillor Douglas Johnson on a BBC Radio Sheffield interview
Sheffield City Council member Coun Mazher Iqbal, who was accused of lying about the actions of Green councillor Douglas Johnson on a BBC Radio Sheffield interview
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The system has now changed from the cabinet model following a referendum.

Coun Dimond said Coun Iqbal told Radio Sheffield that Coun Johnson signed off on policies on bus lanes and red lines “without consultation”. Coun Dimond added: “There was a consultation and nothing has been signed off.

‘Misleading’

“Would you like to take the opportunity to apologise to Coun Johnson and listeners to Toby Foster’s show for misleading them and do you agree that there’s enough misinformation out there without councillors adding to it?”

Sheffield Green Party councillor Coun Alexi Dimond, who accused Labour Coun Mazher Iqbal of lying and asked for an apologySheffield Green Party councillor Coun Alexi Dimond, who accused Labour Coun Mazher Iqbal of lying and asked for an apology
Sheffield Green Party councillor Coun Alexi Dimond, who accused Labour Coun Mazher Iqbal of lying and asked for an apology

Coun Iqbal responded by accusing Coun Johnson of causing “chaos” when he was cabinet member with responsibility for transport. He said that members of the new transport, regeneration and climate policy committee, especially himself and co-chair Coun Julie Grocutt, had been “mopping up his messes”.

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He added: “I go out and speak to businesses and they’re asking me, ‘Why have we not been consulted?’. I’m speaking to residents, they’re saying to me, ‘Maz, why aren’t we consulted?’

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“I’m speaking to your own councillors – I was at a community event at Nether Edge. We’ve had to have these drop-in sessions so we can engage and hear what folks want to say. Obviously Coun Douglas Johnson decided to take a different approach.

Sheffield City Council Green group leader Coun Douglas Johnson said that Coun Mazher Iqbal owed him an apology over allegations he made during an interview on BBC Radio SheffieldSheffield City Council Green group leader Coun Douglas Johnson said that Coun Mazher Iqbal owed him an apology over allegations he made during an interview on BBC Radio Sheffield
Sheffield City Council Green group leader Coun Douglas Johnson said that Coun Mazher Iqbal owed him an apology over allegations he made during an interview on BBC Radio Sheffield

"The assurance I’ll make to all councillors and not just one is that since myself and Coun Grocutt have been involved we have gone out and listened to communities, we’ve held neighbourhood events, we’ve got local area committees involved, we’ve got MPs and councillors and residents and we’ll continue to do that.”

Coun Dimond asked: “So you’re not going to apologise for lying to people?”

‘Apology’

Coun Johnson said: “I think you lied on radio, Mazher, you’ve been asked if you wanted to apologise. I wasn’t expecting this question so thank you, Coun Dimond.”

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He added: “It’s up to you whether you want to make an apology now or at any other time.”

Coun Johnson continued: “When I was a cabinet member responsible for climate change and transport and that came into my portfolio I didn’t at any point sign off on the decision which you claim I did and I certainly didn’t do anything without consultation.

“I just want to put that on the record and say that when you say those things on radio it doesn’t go unnoticed because people know that you’re lying.”

Coun Iqbal replied: “Unfortunately we’ve lost a lot of time, we’ve had to go back, consult with communities and ensure that they are on board.

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“It’s not me who owes you an apology, you owe an apology to the residents of Crookes, to those residents in Walkley, to the residents in Nether Edge, to the residents in Abbeydale Road and businesses, and to the same residents and businesses on Ecclesall Road, because the anxiety, the frustration and the fear, the scaremongering, has been caused by yourself.”