Man still quizzed over ‘threat to kill’ allegation at Tower Hamlets council

A man is still being questioned in custody this-afternoon by police following at incident at last night’s meeting of Tower Hamlets Council in east London when two councillors had to be physically separated.

The incident began during a debate at the end of the council meeting behind closed doors after press and public had been excluded to discuss the appointment of a chief executive to the vacant post and an emergency motion.

The row was in Bengali, said witnesses in the council chamber. Three councillors then intervened and had to separate them, it is understood.

Cllr Rania Khan was later seen in tears getting into the lift leaving the building.

Security officers then cleared the lobby outside and ordered waiting journalists down to the ground-floor reception area.

A councillor at the closed meeting said: “Tempers were high—I’ve never seen anything like that in a council chamber. It was shocking.”

The council later confirmed that police were called. A spokesman said: “We understand they interviewed members of the council. We will be helping police with their enquiries as required.”

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Scotland Yard later confirmed that they arrested a 45-year-old man at the Town Hall.

A police spokesman told the Advertiser: “The man was arrested on suspicion of making threats to kill. He is still in custody and we’re still questioning him. We have up to 48 hours. Even that can be extended if necessary.”

No charges had been made by 12 noon. The man is a believed to be a Labour councillor.