Another Labour councillor defects to join mayor Rahman

Another Labour councillor in Tower Hamlets has defected and joined mayor Lutfur Rahman’s team.

Kabir Ahmed, cllr for Weavers ward, has joined four others who announced their move earlier this month, arguing that the mayor’s policy is similar to Labour’s and that the party should be working with him in the interests of constituents.

It is not yet clear whether the councillors will be able to remain in the Labour party or be forced to become Independents.

Cllr Ahmed said: “If it’s a choice between the egos of Labour group leadership and the people who elected me, the voters win every time.”

Mr Rahman has hinted that he will make more appointments to his five-cabinet team in due course.

If any of the Labour members are appointed, this would automatically expel them from the party.

Mr Ahmed will become executive advisor to the mayor and his cabinet - another role which could expel him.

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Cllr Josh Peck, Labour leader in Tower Hamlets, has firmly rejected the idea that his party should enter into coalition with the mayor.

He said: “There are some major policy differences and things we have real concerns about. Just because we are not in his cabinet it doesn’t mean we can’t have a positive impact in Tower Hamlets.”

Even without the five latest defectors, Labour is still the largest party in the council, with 27 out of 51 councillors.

Mr Rahman now has 13 supporters, the Tories have eight councillors, Respect has two and there is one Lib Dem.