Socialist Worker

Four Respect councillors resign the group whip in Tower Hamlets

Issue No. 2075

Four Tower Hamlets councillors resigned the Respect group whip last week.

In a statement councillors Oliur Rahman, Lutfa Begum, Rania Khan and Ahmed Hussain said, “We remain loyal Respect members and will participate in the council chambers and attend to the community in Tower Hamlets.

“We remain loyal to the original policies and principles on which Respect was founded.”

They added, “We have come to the conclusion that it is no longer possible for us to work constructively together.

“The current Respect group leader has, over an extended period, failed to foster a sense of unity and purpose within the Respect group.”

Councillor Rania Khan said the lack of leadership has led to the loss of two councillors. “We regret that it has come to this, where we feel compelled to resign the party whip,” she said.

Councillor Oliur Rahman, who was the first elected Respect councillor in the country, said, “It is particularly sad for me that after repeated attempts to find a reasonable way forward our efforts have been treated with disdain. We regret that it has come to the stage where we feel compelled to resign the whip.”

The councillors reiterated at a press conference on Monday that they are still members of Respect and acting as Respect councillors.

John Rees, Respect national secretary, responded to a question from a journalist about whether the SWP was splitting from Respect. He answered, “Of course not. We founded Respect with others.”

A spokesman for George Galloway told the press John is “openly talking about backing candidates against Respect candidates”.

John Rees made no such statement. But this did not stop the “spokesman” stating to the press that the SWP has “walked away from Respect”.

For a full report of the Tower Hamlets press conference go to

» Press conference by Tower Hamlets Respect councillors who resigned group whip

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