New cabinet appointed by Tower Hamlets Mayor Biggs to continue his 'clean sweep' after Lutfur Rahman era
PUBLISHED: 08:26 17 May 2018 | UPDATED: 19:39 17 May 2018
The new cabinet appointed by Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs after Labour's landslide victory has been drawn up to keep sweeping the board clean after the previous corrupt administration he took over three years ago.
That is the pledge by the Labour group at their annual general meeting this week after it swept power at the May 3 polls with 42 of the 45 council seats.
“I inherited a council in chaos when I started my first term,” the mayor said.
“But I have already made progress over three years and we will build on these foundations with my new cabinet.”
Among the “chaos” he inherited after Lutfur Rahman was banned as mayor in the High Court for malpractice was government commissioners installed in the town hall to stop public funds leaking in all directions.
The commissioners found grants going to unknown groups without scrutiny and council property deals behind closed doors.
But mayor Biggs who won back control of the council for Labour in 2015 put all executive decisions under open council scrutiny.
He also saw the eventual departure of the commissioners last year, despite continued concerns about the children’s services which were later heavily criticised by Ofsted.
Mayor Biggs now rules with an overwhelming majority facing an opposition of just two Tories and one People’s Alliance.
But he no longer has to face the troublesome Aspire party wiped out at the polls who still backed Rahman and staged walk-out in February over a vote to condemn the previous administration and to co-operate with the Met Police investigation into the years of corruption and malpractice.
His new cabinet announced last night includes three new members, Motin Uz-Zaman, Candida Ronald and Danny Hassel, while Sirajul Islam continues as Statutory Deputy Mayor with responsibility for housing.
Two other deputy mayors are Rachel Blake for regeneration and Asma Begum for public safety.
Next Speaker of the council being put forward by Labour at next Wednesday’s full council meeting is Ayas Miah, with Victoria Obaze nominated as Deputy. The Mayor’s three political advisors are also to be confirmed at the meeting, Sabina Akhtar, Asma Islam and Eve McQuillan.
Other Cabinet appointments are: Children, Schools and youth service Danny Hassell, Culture, Arts and Brexit Amina Ali, Environment and Air Quality David Edgar, Resources and Voluntary Sector Candida Ronald, Work & Economic Growth Motin Uz-Zaman and Adults and Health Denise Jones.