An extraordinary letter from the Mayor of Tower Hamlets released today reveals the paranoia and insecurity at the heart of his administration.
In August Labour Leader Cllr Sirajul Islam wrote to the Mayor warning that his refusal to set up a Health and Wellbeing Board for the borough was putting over £10m of health funding at risk. In the letter Cllr Islam pledged that Labour “would not oppose nor seek to amend the membership or terms of reference for the Health and Wellbeing Board were you to bring proposals to Council, unless there was an absolutely clear need to do so.”
Yet this week, two months after the initial response, the Mayor replied stating that he did not trust Labour councillors and listing a number of bizarre demands which he said had to be met before he would consider taking action.
Labour have responded attacking the Mayor’s ‘paranoia’ and reiterating their earlier pledge of support for the Health and Wellbeing Board. Writing in reply to
the Mayor, Cllr Sirajul Islam stated:
“We have consistently raised this issue at Health Scrutiny, Council, Overview and Scrutiny and Cabinet over the past 6 months; however you have persisted in your failure to take any action. I am disappointed that your paranoia and ill judgement have led to a position which puts over £10m of funding at risk.”
The Labour politicians also questioned the Mayor’s understanding of the democratic process and arguing that:
“As Executive Mayor your powers are already numerous. Seeking to dictate to Council and to subvert the will of Parliament is not only disingenuous but also reckless as it has resulted in £10m of Health funding being put at risk. Parliament has decided this should be a decision for Councils and whilst I see very little, if any, differences in our points of view on this issue, I will not allow the Council to be pushed into giving up this very clear responsibility.”
Deputy Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Rachael Saunders, said:
“This whole affair shows the insecurities of a Mayor who cannot fathom legitimate scrutiny and democracy. The sad fact is that it is the people of Tower Hamlets who may lose out on £10m of health funding just because the Mayor is too paranoid to act.”