Labour Councillor Muhammad Harun, who was elected to Lansbury ward in May this year, has resigned as a Councillor. It is believed that the reason for his resignation is related to allegations of housing fraud.
Other Labour councillors are also under investigation according to a statement by Cllr. Andrew Wood (Conservative, Canary Wharf).
Three properties in question
LW understands that the housing fraud allegations relate to three properties; 16 Lancaster Avenue, Barking, Essex, IG11 7RB and 97 Solander Gardens, London E1 0DF which Cllr. Harun owns and his London Borough of Tower Hamlets social housing tenancy at 44 Grundy Street, London E14 6DR. It is alleged Cllr. Harun let out the Grundy Street property. [Updated 09.00 22 December 2018]
More details on the nature of the allegations soon…
Lutfur Rahman’s deputy Ohid Ahmed to stand
Harun’s resignation means there will be a by-election in Lansbury and sources close to LW state that Ohid Ahmed, who came fourth in the May election in Lansbury, will stand. Ohid Ahmed also stood in the contest to be Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets in May and was widely considered to be a proxy candidate for ex-Mayor Lutfur Rahman.
It is not known which political party Ohid Ahmed will represent. There have been quite a few.
More details as we get ’em.
Update: Other councillors under investigation?
Below is a statement from Cllr. Andrew Wood (Canary Wharf), Leader of the Conservative Group provided to LW.
“I welcome the swift resignation of Cllr. Harun, I understand it relates to detailed allegations of housing fraud sent to the Council on Monday.
This is the fourth Tower Hamlets Councillor to cause a by-election since 2012 and I am aware of other Councillors under investigation. Cllr Mohammed Pappu remains suspended by the Labour party and has not attended any Council meetings since October.
Local government is a serious responsibility and political parties need to ensure that they are more careful in selecting candidates and voters need to be more careful in who they vote for.”
[Updated 09.00 22 December 2018]
In October 2016 Independent (and former Tower Hamlets First) Councillor Shahed Ali was jailed for five months after pleading guilty to housing fraud at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
For those suffering from deja vu, we would like to confirm that the current Mayor is John Biggs, not Lutfur Rahman (we checked).
The news of the resignation of Muhammad Harun will come as a major embarrassment to Mayor Biggs as he has made much of the Labour Party being a squeaky clean in contrast to the Rahman administration, especially as it comes only a few months after Labour Councillor Pappu resigned the Labour whip (but not his seat) after he admitted to peddling anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on Facebook.
Councillor Pappu was also elected in May 2018 to be the Labour member for Blackwall & Cubitt Town.
It is not known if Muhammad Harun’s eight-month tenure as a Councillor is the shortest on record.
In this borough, probably not.