Councillor resigns from shadow cabinet

A Labour councillor has resigned from Tower Hamlets shadow cabinet but maintains he does not want to lead the party himself.

Bow East councillor Marc Francis, who previously held the responsibility fro housing when Labour was in power waited until last week’s election defeat in Spitalfields and Banglatown before announcing his resignation.

He told the Advertiser his move did not signal a challenge to the leadership of Helal Abbas on his part and he was not planning to join Independent mayor Lutfur Rahman’s cabinet.

And he said the role as leader of the Labour opposition on Tower Hamlets council was “a difficult job”.

But he commented that Labour should not have suffered election defeat at the hands of Respect at last Thursday’s by-election.

“Losing that seat was ridiculous.”

The turn out was very low, with just 16 per cent of the electorate voting with 553 votes for Labour and 666 for Respect.

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It has been a Labour seat and the vacancy was created on the election of the ward councillor Lutfur Rahman as Tower Hamlets first directly elected mnayor. Mr Rahman became on Independent politician when the Labour party decided to de-select him as its candidate.

Labour leader Helal Abbas is also a councillor for the ward and in his letter cllr Francis said he had lost confidence in his leadership and could not continue to serve in the shadow cabinet.