LibDem rebel quits to join Tower Hamlets Labour group
By Ted Jeory ONE of the East End s most poorly performing councillors has been forced out of the Liberal Democrat party after showing no interest in the people of Tower Hamlets . Rajib Ahmed, a councillor in the East India and Lansbury ward, left the L
By Ted Jeory
ONE of the East End's most poorly performing councillors has been forced out of the Liberal Democrat party after "showing no interest in the people of Tower Hamlets".
Rajib Ahmed, a councillor in the East India and Lansbury ward, left the Lib Dems at the weekend, just days before the party's headquarters was due to expel him.
He has now applied to join the Labour party, but the Advertiser understands that senior figures within the Tower Hamlets ruling group are strongly resisting such a move.
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Cllr Ahmed, a minicab company director who rarely attends Town Hall meetings, has not spoken at full council for more than two years, has not filed a timesheet for six months and yet who claims to do more than 50 hours a month reading documents and paperwork, refused to explain today why he was trying to defect.
He told the Advertiser: "I have left, yes, and I am now a member of the Labour group. "I used to be a Labour councillor about six years ago and now I've gone back."
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Asked why he had originally defected from Labour to the Lib Dems and now back again, he said: "I don't want to talk about that now, you'll get a press release."
When quizzed about his record as a councillor, he said: "I do surgeries twice a week, so my constituents know me well."
But Labour sources insisted his application to rejoin the party had not yet been ratified.
That decision will be taken by the group's 28 existing councillors at an annual meeting tonight.
Cllr Ahmed's move leaves the Lib Dem group, once the dominant force in Tower Hamlets politics, with just three councillors and there are real fears they could be wiped out almost completely at the next local elections in 2010.
However, party bosses, who withdrew the party whip on Friday, were today saying "good riddance" to Cllr Ahmed.
Stephen Clarke, the secretary of Tower Hamlets Lib Dems, said: "He was largely absent from council meetings and Committees and failed to represent his constituents.
"We expect that our Liberal Democrat Councillors work hard for the community of Tower Hamlets, and he did not do that."
Group Leader Councillor Stephanie Eaton added: "Despite the efforts of a number of party members to engage Cllr Ahmed in the business of the council, and to support him during his recent difficult personal problems, he has shown no interest in the people of Tower Hamlets.