Labour cabinet member defects to Tories at Tower Hamlets

A LABOUR cabinet member has defected to the Tory Opposition on Tower Hamlets Council in East London. Dr Anwara Ali, in charge of health policy, is giving a press conference this afternoon to explain why

By Mike Brooke

A LABOUR cabinet member has defected to the Tory Opposition on Tower Hamlets Council in East London.

Dr Anwara Ali, in charge of health policy on the local authority, is giving a press conference in Brick Lane this afternoon to explain why she’s quit Labour.

She is one of only two women in council leader Lutfur Rahman’s cabinet which controls the East End’s �1 billion budget.

But the GP from Spitalfields, in the heart of the East End’s deprived Bangladeshi community, is thought to be unhappy with having to take on George Galloway’s Respect party in Shadwell.

She was being switched from Bow West, regarded as safe Labour’ territory, to go head-to-head with Respect in their stronghold. She was not offered the safer Spitalfields ward where her surgery is.

This results from the shake-up in Tower Hamlets Labour ranks with the London regional party taking over the selection process last year.

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Dr Ali was reselected, but given a tough seat to fight in the coming May 6 local elections.

So she has quit Labour to join Tory Peter Golds’ Opposition group.

Labour is furious at her defection. “This is unbelievable,” one source told the East London Advertiser. “Tower Hamlets has become a joke.”