Lutfur Rahman considering his options before naming his mayoral cabinet
TOWER Hamlet’s new mayor Lutfur Rahman is unlikely to name his cabinet at a council meeting tonight according to sources in his camp.
Mr Rahman who was elected as Tower Hamlet’s first directly-elected mayor last Friday, will attend his first council meeting since taking up the role at the Town Hall in Mulberry Place tonight.
But he could struggle to find willing volunteers for his cabinet - with up to nine roles to potentially fill - in the coming days, though he was expected to name his deputy mayor.
The borough’s Labour councillors are forbidden from joining his cabinet or acting as paid advisers following a party vote at a meeting in Westminster on Monday.
The new mayor, who was deselected as Labour’s mayoral candidate and chose to run as an Independent, had hoped to consider candidates from the 31 Labour councillors.
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He sent them all a letter following his electoral victory asking for their co-operation.
In the letter, Mr Rahman said: “You know I did not leave the Labour party and those Labour values still guide my manifesto and my mayoralty.”
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“Please do not oppose the will of the people.
“Not when we’re just beginning our journey of change which we’ve been all working so hard for, and when there’s so much do.”
Oliur Rahman, one of the ‘gang-of-eight’ councillors expelled from the Labour party by its National Executive Committee (NEC) for backing Mr Rahman’s campaign, said: “It is very sad that the Labour party will not work with him.”
The St Dunstan’s and Stepney Green councillor said he had not been approached about taking up a cabinet position, but Mr Rahman is left with few other options than turning to the ‘gang-of-eight’.
They are unlikely to be brought back into the Labour fold and so won’t be restrained by the local party’s decision on Monday.
Their appeal over the NEC’s decision was rejected by a disputes committee yesterday.
Labour councillors also voted on Monday to oppose their readmission to the party or that of Mr Rahman.
The Tory councillors are highly unlikely to work with him.
Conservative Peter Golds, a Blackwall and Cubitt Town councillor, said: “The mayor is a Respect Party member for all intents and purposes and we wouldn’t have anything to do with Respect.”
Liberal Democrat councillor for Bethnal Green North, Stephanie Eaton, was still willing to consider a cabinet position though,
She told the Advertiser today: “I haven’t met with Lutfur since the election.
“I want to do what is best for the people of Tower Hamlets but I am interested to hear what policies the mayor will espouse first.
“I’m not ruling anything out, I’m just not sure what Lutfur is planning to do yet.”
One Labour councillor who had been widely tipped to be Mr Rahman’s deputy was Marc Francis, councillor for Bow East, who served on the last cabinet.
But he told this paper he will abide by party rules and would not consider any offers, though he said Labour should hold discussions with the mayor over his future plans.