Rebel Bow councillor resigns at budget meeting, saying Labour ‘worse than UKIP’

Cllr Anwar Khan

Cllr Anwar Khan - Credit: Archant

A rebel Labour councillor has resigned from his local party over what he calls its culture of “bullying and bigotry”.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman

Mayor Lutfur Rahman - Credit: Archant

Cllr Anwar Khan of Bow West ward, resigned the Labour Whip at last night’s council budget meeting, said he could not stay in a party that “betrays its values with every breath”.

Cllr Khan has been an outspoken critic of Labour since his deselection as a candidate in December, and has accused Labour’s mayoral candidate John Biggs of racism against “outspoken Bengalis”.

He said he would not be joining Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s party, Tower Hamlets First, but would run as an independent in the May elections.

Cllr Khan said: “I am a proud member of the national Labour Party, but in Tower Hamlets they put UKIP to shame with incompetence, bullying and bigotry.

“I call on Ed Milliband to intervene and clean up the cesspit that is Tower Hamlets Labour Group.

“Until then, I refuse to stand under the same banner as people who betray Labour values with every breath.”

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He added: “I supported Mayor Rahman’s progressive budget, but I’m not Lutfur’s man. I won’t be standing with Tower Hamlets First, but on my own for the people of Bow West.”

Cllr Khan’s decision was praised by Mayor Lutfur Rahman, who said: “I salute Anwar for his courage and for sticking to his principles.”

Last week Cllr Khan complained that Labour had tried to silence him in a previous budget meeting by unplugging his microphone.

Group leader Cllr Sirajul Islam said: “Cllr Khan’s resignation hardly comes as a surprise. Ever since he failed to meet the standard necessary to stand as a Labour candidate last year he has taken to attacking the party he has supported for years.”

He added: “It is fairly telling that Anwar’s approach was to attack the Labour party the instant he didn’t get his own way. “While his actions are saddening, it is now clearer than ever why Anwar didn’t make the grade to stand as a Labour candidate in this year’s elections.”