Now Abdul Hai gets a gong in platinum jubilee honours list

An almost annual trend for Labour councillors in Camden to get an award

Thursday, 9th June — By Richard Osley

Abdul Hai

Abdul Hai was awarded an OBE

A FORMER cabinet councillor has become the latest in an ever-expanding list of local Labour figures to score an honour from the Queen.

Abdul Hai who stepped down from the Town Hall just four weeks ago, learned he is being awarded an OBE in the Queen’s platinum jubilee honours list.

He said it felt extra special to receive a gong as royalists celebrated the monarch’s 70th anniversary on the throne.

Mr Hai was nominated for his work forging links between different faith groups, coming up with ideas to tackling race inequalities and his position on Camden’s youth safety workforce, set up after a spate of fatal stabbings.

“I’m proud of what we achieved with the changes to coroner’s service and the high court ruling which has made sure that people’s religious needs are taken into account,” he said.

The coroner at St Pancras had been operating a “cab rank” policy of dealing with cases, causing a backlog which stopped Jewish and Muslim families from organising quick burials as required by their religious beliefs.

He added that there was still much more work to be done on youth safety and he would stay on the taskforce.

But he added: “We are seeing improvements. Our idea to have youth workers in police station custody areas has made a difference and is now being used across London by Sadiq Khan.”

“We need to work on how to prevent what we saw in 2018 [several critical knife crime incidents] and to work on education and training opportunities.”

Mr Hai thanked Holborn and St Pancras MP Sir Keir Starmer – knighted in 2014 – and council leader Georgia Gould for supporting his ideas. His gong follows a new and almost annual trend for honours for Labour councillors in Camden.

Last year, former mayor Jonathan Simpson was given an MBE, following a BEM medal for Sabrina Francis. Former finance chief Theo Blackwell, now working as Sadiq Khan’s digital czar, was given an MBE in 2018. The current mayor of Camden, Nash Ali, already had OBE given to him back in 2020.

Details of who nominated who are always kept fiercely under wraps.

Other familiar faces named in the Queen’s platinum jubilee honours list included Robert Stephenson-Padron, the owner of Penrose Care who helped set up the Belsize Streatery. He was given an OBE.

Homeland actor Damian Lewis, who lives in Kentish Town, was given a CBE for services to drama and charity. With his late wife Helen McCrory, he helped raise more than £1million to feed frontline NHS workers during the Covid pandemic.

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