By Sebastian O’Kelly
Martin Boyd, the chair of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, has decided to resign and has announced his resignation publicly on Twitter today.
This is a huge loss to the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, to the wider efforts to reform the leasehold system and to leaseholders generally.
Justin Madders MP, Labour MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston and an LKP patron, expressed his regret here:
Martin’s decision is prompted by the MHCLG civil servants’ response to his complaint about a meeting between LKP, Sir Peter Bottomley and the chair of the Leasehold Advisory Service, Wanda Goldwag on April 25 2019.
This meeting is reported in detail here:
The matter is now the subject of a complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman against MHCLG’s handling of the issue, which is expected to rule shortly. But the views of the civil service on the matter are clear.
Martin has argued that he was subjected to false accusations at the meeting. See article above.
The civil service have ignored these points in their response to the Ombudsman. As a result, Martin feels he has no credibility with officials, with whom LKP meets regularly, and has resigned as our chair.
Instead, the response addresses what the MHCLG permanent secretary terms Ms Goldwag’s “navy language”, which was deployed throughout the meeting.
According to the MHCLG permanent secretary Ms Goldwag is disposed to apologise for this, but after 18 months has not done so (there is reference to an attempt to obtain his phone number).
The meeting was also attended by myself, Katherine O’Riordan, Sir Peter Bottomley’s Senior Parliamentary Adviser, and Joanne Darbyshire, an LKP trustee and co-founder of the NLC.
The MHCLG has made no effort to contact any of those who were present.
Leaseholders should be in no doubt about what has been going on here.
The meeting with Wanda Goldwag was a disgrace.
She ignored the agenda, which the Leasehold Advisory Service had itself set, and immediately launched into a foul-mouthed attack on LKP and particularly Martin.
Neither Martin nor Sir Peter responded to these provocations, and throughout the meeting the only other person who spoke was me, to try to calm matters.
All present were aghast by this performance, the aim of which presumably was to break LKP’s relationship with MPs. It is most unlikely that someone of Ms Goldwag’s nature would make an accurate assessment of Sir Peter Bottomley. Or Martin, come to that.
Leaseholders may wish to ask:
Why should LKP lose its chair in these circumstances?
Why should leaseholders be deprived of the services – freely given over many years – of Martin Boyd because of a series of ill-disciplined and wrong accusations by someone on the public payroll?
How are leaseholders’ interests served by inaction over this by the civil service?
Many officials in MHCLG, other ministries, the Law Commission, the judiciary, the Competition and Markets Authority etc have had regular dealings with Martin Boyd.
If he is wrongly accused of bulling LEASE staff – many lowly paid, women and from ethnic minority backgrounds, as Ms Goldwag emphasised – they need to support him.
Cladding leaseholders in particular owe Martin Boyd a debt of gratitude: it was solely thanks to him that their issues were first raised in Westminster.
It is to be hoped that those MPs with whom LKP has worked for many years – many of them directly assisted by Martin – will not let this matter pass.