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Labour councillor quits amid fears council is being taken in East End

PUBLISHED: 12:35 06 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:40 05 October 2010

Ted Jeory A LABOUR councillor in Tower Hamlets has resigned for a mixture of personal reasons and serious concerns over the direction the party is being led. Rupert Bawden, a paramedic and acclaimed composer and conductor of music, quit this morning as m

Ted Jeory

A LABOUR councillor in Tower Hamlets has resigned for a mixture of personal reasons and serious concerns over the direction the party is being led.

Rupert Bawden, a paramedic and acclaimed composer and conductor of music, quit this morning as member for the Mile End East ward.

His decision will force a by-election, probably on November 6, in a ward that is currently a mix of Labour and Conservative.

Mr Bawden had been unhappy with the Tower Hamlets Labour party for some time and his resignation is not a surprise to political insiders.

He was forced to resign from the cabinet, where he held the housing portfolio, last year after an interview with the Advertiser in which he criticised then leader Denise Jones.

Mr Bawden, who is partially deaf, has undergone two operations in the past 12 months and they have taken their toll on his health.

Mr Bawden was not available for comment today, but he now wants to "concentrate on number one", one of his colleagues said.

However, he is also known to be privately disillusioned with the Labour-run council and the direction it is taking.

Friends told the Advertiser that he is concerned that politics in the borough is increasingly splitting on race and religious lines.

Similar sentiments have also been expressed by other former Labour councillors, including the ex-member for Bromley-by-Bow, Kevin Morton.

The remaining two councillors for Mile End East are Labour's Motin uz-Zaman and ex-Respect-turned-Tory Ahmed Hussain.

The forthcoming by-election will not only be a test of any Tory strength in the area, but also of which faction with the Labour party holds the upper hand.

Council leader Lutfur Rahman will want to ensure one of his allies is selected to fight the seat to bolster his numbers against those of his enemies.

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