Lutfur Rahman, the new mayor of Tower Hamlets, invited members of his previous party, Labour, to join the cabinet so that it represents ‘all of Tower Hamlets’.
The mayor wrote on Twitter “I want a cabinet that represents all of Tower Hamlets. That’s why today I wrote to my former party, @TH_Labour, inviting women councillors from the Labour group to join my administration. Let’s rebuild this borough constructively.”
Mayor Rahman’s party, Aspire, won 24 of the 45 seats in Tower Hamlets council, while Labour took 19 seats despite having previously held 40. The result marked just the fourth time Labour has not held overall control of the borough since its creation in 1964.
All 24 of the seats won by Aspire, were won by men, many of Rahman’s opponents complained that there were no women in the party.
The mayor said that they could only attract three women to stand in the election but as none were elected, he reached out to Labour to get more women on board.
Rahman offered a hand of partnership but Labour decided to play gender politics instead, deputy leader, Cllr Amina Ali said “However disappointing that you (Lutfur Rahman) have an all-male group, we do not believe it’s our responsibility to solve your party’s issues on gender parity”.
Labour did not support female domestic abuse survivor, Apsana Begum MP who was found not guilty of housing fraud.
Begum’s abusive ex-husband supported Cllr Amina Ali’s bid to be selected as General Election candidate for Poplar and Limehouse. The selection was won by Begum by quite some margin.
The MP’s abusive ex-husband was also the Chair of the housing sub-committee which tried to sue her.
What exactly is the cabinet?
The cabinet is made up of the elected mayor and lead members (as appointed by the mayor). Each lead member has an area of responsibility based on council services.
The mayor and cabinet are responsible for most major decisions of the council within the budget and policy framework (as set by full council). This includes preparing the budget and plans for the council to consider; implementing and monitoring them; considering recommendations from scrutiny bodies and executive key decisions.