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Labour selects Tower Hamlets' new First Citizen and council chairman

PUBLISHED: 18:30 15 May 2012 | UPDATED: 18:39 15 May 2012

Labour has voted its candidate to take over as chairman and Speaker of Tower Hamlets council in London's East End.

The majority Opposition Labour Group’s annual meeting last night (Mon) agreed to put up Cllr Rajib Ahmed.

Retired nurse Lesley Pavitt, a newcomer who was only elected a councillor in 2010, has been named candidate for Deputy Speaker who would, by tradition, be in line to take over the role of chair this time next year.

Cab driver Rajib held a celebration party at Brick Lane’s Preem restaurant, owned by former Respect chair Asmal Hussain, immediately after the Labour Group meeting at the Town Hall.

His selection and Cllr Pavitt’s selection as his deputy goes before tomorrow night’s full council meeting to be ratified—but with Labour holding a large majority on the authority, run by the independent administration of Mayor Lutfur Rahman, both are certain to be elected.

Cllr Ahmed takes over from Labour’s Mizanur Choudhury as council chairman and Tower Hamlets’ controversial First Citizen who clashed with Executive Mayor Rahman over his civic role and loss of his Town Hall office and official car during his term.

But Cllr Ahmed is not without his own controversy, having had to apologise for parking his minicab at the entrance to a car park on Poplar’s Birchfeld housing estate on Saturday evening—blocking 20 motorists for three hours who were unable to get out. The minicab had to be moved by police.

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