I wrote a long email to my Labour councillor colleagues when I resigned from the cabinet a few months ago. There is some misinformation going around about what it said, so I am publishing it.
Sent on the 8th August, 2017
I am writing to let you know that I have resigned from the cabinet today. I have got a new job, and the hours aren’t possible.
I will of course continue to support the Labour group and leadership, as I have done through my time as a councillor.
I have also written to Mile End members today to let them know that I will not be restanding to be a councillor in May.
It is time to make space for others to come through.
I have loved being a councillor for Mile End since 2008, and the people there have taught me a huge amount. I am very proud of the children’s centre on Joseph street, the outstanding St Paul’s Way secondary school and excellent primary school places created by expanding Wellington Way and Stebon and building a new primary on Burdett, rapidly improving GP surgeries, three new mosques, and the many new social homes that have been built in the ward, all of which I have supported and shaped in different ways.
I am most proud of the work I have done to support residents to make their own voices heard during this rapid time of change in our community. Advocating for the people of Mile End will be my top priority for my remaining months as a councillor.
I am very grateful to the Labour Group for the roles you have elected me to since 2008, including chief whip, deputy leader and leader, and am particularly grateful for your support in the very tough year after we lost the 2014 mayor election, lost our majority, and then led the political response to the DCLG commissioners.
I am proud of the work I led in cabinet, including on the third sector strategy, creating a new process for grants, holding together our family of schools, and putting young people’s voice at the heart of the youth service. I wish I could have done more on children’s social care. I am glad to have worked with the local NHS in recent months on pushing for the local, partnership focus that we know delivers for Tower Hamlets.
I stood as a councillor because I was appalled by the perversion of politics championed by George Galloway, and wanted to fight for Labour values of equality, democracy and mutual respect in how we did our politics. I spent years fighting the corruption and cronyism of Lutfur Rahman. I still hope that we can do better in how we treat one another, and in putting values into practice in our decision making.
I am no longer willing to live with the endemic, vicious misogyny many of us experience. That misogyny manifests itself as “jokes”, undermining and belittling, through to harassment, intimidation and threats. It is about silencing, coercion and control. I have had enough.
Ten years of doing battle on these fronts is enough, and I look forward to supporting the next generation of Labour candidates to take Tower Hamlets forward.
People come from all over the world to make better lives for themselves and their families in Tower Hamlets, and it is our job to build their ambition and hard work into a shared future. I’ll be cheering you on.