Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs today has put his stamp on his new post and brought the council firmly back into the Labour fold.
He has put his party colleagues in all the key cabinet posts, finally ousting the Tower Hamlets First councillors who had formed part of disgraced former mayor Lutfur Rahman’s power base.
As he announced during his election campaign, Mr Biggs has appointed three deputy mayors with cabinet duties from the Labour Party.
Cllr Sirajul Islam is statutory deputy mayor and cabinet member for housing management and performance; Cllr Rachael Saunders is deputy mayor and cabinet member for education, children’s services and the third sector; Cllr Shiria Khatun is deputy mayor and cabinet member for community affairs.
Six further cabinet members, also drawn from the Labour Party, are responsible for the remaining executive functions:
- Cllr Rachel Blake: strategic development;
- Cllr Joshua Peck: work and economic growth;
- Cllr Amy Whitelock Gibbs: health and adult services;
- Cllr Asma Begum: culture;
- Cllr Ayas Miah: environment;
- Cllr David Edgar: resources.
Mr Biggs said: “The new cabinet will enable sound leadership, expertise and transparency to shape our service delivery.
“We are committed to rebuilding our communities’ confidence; putting our residents first and protecting the local services that our residents rely on as government cuts bite.”
However, Mr Biggs has come under fire for not immediately relinquishing his position on the London Assembly, where he represents the City and east London.
The Independent Group, formerly Tower Hamlets First, said the borough deserved more than a part-time mayor and vowed to harry the new Labour administration.
Cllr Rabina Khan, runner-up in the mayoral election, said: “We will continue to fight for the people of Tower Hamlets, and we will do that by holding John Biggs and his Labour cabinet to account.
"We are a local grassroots political movement and our focus is very much on the welfare of the community.”
Leader of the group Cllr Oli Rahman said: “If John Biggs is committed to keeping the borough united, he needs to acknowledge the devastating effects that the Tory cuts can and will make to the poorest and most vulnerable members of our community, and make it his priority to ensure that our residents can live, learn and work with dignity.”