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Tower Hamlets council leader steps down on day Brown quits

PUBLISHED: 13:35 11 May 2010 | UPDATED: 15:59 05 October 2010

Lutfur... stepping down as council leader

Lutfur... stepping down as council leader

THE controversial leader of Tower Hamlets council, Lutfur Rahman, is stepping down. He didn’t challenge for leadership when the ruling Labour group held its annual meeting last night after getting back into office following Thursday’s local elections

By Mike Brooke

THE controversial leader of Tower Hamlets council in East London, Lutfur Rahman, is stepping down.

He didn’t challenge for leadership when the ruling Labour group held its annual meeting last night after getting back into office following Thursday’s local council elections.

The 43-year-old lawyer had ruled a shaky administration for two years, during which critics linked members of the authority with the Islamic Forum Europe.

He was also at the centre of the row last summer over the sacking of the council’s popular chief executive Martin Smith and the subsequent appointment of assistant chief executive Lutfur Rahman Ali whose qualifications for the job were questioned.

Lutfur Rahman decided to throw in the towel on the day Gordon Brown announced he was also stepping down as Labour’s national party leader.

He did not compete for the leadership for a third 12-month term when the newly-elected Labour caucus, which saw off a challenge from George Galloway’s Respect Party for control of the council on May 6, met for the first time at the Town Hall last night

Former council leader Helal Abbas is now ready to get back into the hot seat. He takes over unchallenged when Rahman’s term ends on May 27.

But even moderate’ Abbas is not without his controversial past, having been criticised for not backing Labour MP Oona King in the 2005 General Election which led to Galloway snatching Bethnal Green & Bow.

His deputy, also selected last night unopposed, is Labour stalwart Josh Peck. The group meets again on Thursday when Abbas announces his new cabinet.

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