Cllr. Rabina Khan, previously of the People’s Alliance of Tower Hamlets (PATH) has joined the Liberal Democrats. Cllr. Khan’s decision to join a mainstream party benefits her political ambitions and provides the Lib Dems with their only Tower Hamlets councillor.
A learning experience
At a press conference today Cllr. Khan said that while her political journey had at times been ‘a learning experience’ she was now delighted to be joining the Liberal Democrats along with many colleagues and supporters.
“Our shared liberal values and strong sense of social justice make the Liberal Democrats a natural home for all of us,” said Cllr. Khan.
The Liberal Democrats have worked together with Cllr. Khan in recent times and have a shared commitment to confront Brexit, tackle the legacy of divisive politics in the Borough, and continue to champion threatened front-line services such as local nurseries and children’s centres.
The Liberal Democrats claim Khan’s move is good news for residents as it will provide a more robust check on the current Labour party in the council chamber.
Cllr. Khan also works very well with both Cllr. Andrew Wood (Conservative, Canary Wharf) and Cllr. Peter Golds (Conservative, Island Gardens) in opposing Mayor Biggs in council.
All national parties now represented
Every elected representative in Tower Hamlets is now a member of one of the three major national parties – although probably not for long.
Ed Long, Chair of Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats said:
“Rabina is a tireless and hugely respected campaigner for ordinary Tower Hamlets residents on our Council. We have long had a good working relationship with members of PATH both inside and outside the Town Hall and have a shared vision to move the Borough beyond the divisive politics that has afflicted it for so long.”
Councillor Khan, former Cabinet Member for Housing in Lutfur Rahman’s administration, has represented the Shadwell Ward of Tower Hamlets since 2010. She has led PATH since it was formed in 2016 and brings with her five former Councillors.
“Every day is a different day and every era is different,” said Cllr. Khan as she concluded her address to the audience. “We now have the opportunity to run in elections where Labour is not the only alternative.”
This publication is on record as stating that Cllr. Khan was the best candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets in the May 2018 election. The electorate did not agree – and is now paying the price as a failing Labour administration slowly drags the borough back into the gutter.
Before Mayor Biggs is done with us all we might yet come to regard the days of Lutfur Rahman with some nostalgia.
Both Cllr. Khan and the Liberal Democrats are winners in today’s announcement. Cllr. Khan gets to be the only Lib Dem councillor and the Lib Dems finally get their foot in the door of the council chamber.
LW has no doubt that Rabina Khan will be leading the Lib Dem charge in Tower Hamlets in the next few months as she has extensive experience of being in power, can be a street fighter when needed and is a dedicated ward councillor.
At least two Labour councillors have abandoned their wards since May and will pay the price for their arrogance, probably sooner than either of them realise.
There is fundamental change afoot with the Liberal Democrats at a national level although nobody quite knows exactly what, with dedicated Remainer Gina Miller recently having been touted to be the next Lib Dem leader.
It’s all about numbers
But at a borough level politics is all about numbers and one person does not make an independent opposition.
This is Tower Hamlets however where anything happens and usually does.
It is not beyond the bounds of credibility (let’s face it, it will happen) that by the end of 2018 two, three or maybe even more of the younger member of the new Labour intake decide there is nothing to gain with staying on board a very leaky vessel and promptly jump ship to the Lib Dems and into Cllr. Khan’s welcoming yet discerning arms.
At a national level both Labour and the Conservatives are doing their utmost to destroy themselves over Brexit and antisemitism and will succeed.
Our country needs a new type of politics and before that can be formed there needs to be some radical change.
At a local level Cllr. Wood and Golds continue to demonstrate that whatever their national party loyalties they can serve borough residents of any political persuasion without compromising their political beliefs.
It is no accident that Cllr. Khan is the only survivor of the once dominant Bangladeshi political grouping in Tower Hamlets. Rahman? Gone. Ohid Ahmed? Gone. Selfie King? Gone. And good riddance to every one of them.
Khan is a political survivor. This is a skill that cannot be learned.
And by virtue of faithfully serving those she represents Rabina Khan has never had to worry too much about keeping her ward seat.
If she instills these values into her new colleagues Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats may do rather well in the next few years and we may all prosper.
Which will make a nice change.