Mayor Lutfur Rahman perplexed councillors and residents of Tower Hamlets last night when he announced only four cabinet members.
The newly elected mayor has had three weeks to decide his cabinet and the freedom to appoint up to ten members, including himself and a deputy mayor.
At his first cabinet meeting last night Mr Rahman told a surprisingly empty room details of his skeleton cabinet.
Those appointed are Oliur Rahman for children’s services, Rania Khan for regeneration, Rabina Khan for housing and Alibor Choudry who is in charge of the borough’s resources.
All four councillors announced yesterday had declared solidarity with Mr Rahman by defecting with him when he was expelled from the Labour party earlier this year.
Speaking after the meeting, councillor Peter Golds, head of the Tower Hamlets Conservatives called the new cabinet “some of the weakest councillors in the chamber.” Some fear that Rahman’s reduced cabinet reflects the unwillingness of Labour councillors to associate with the controversially elected mayor.
Rahman also discussed his plans for the borough in light of the drastic cuts to local government spending. At the Congress Meeting on November 22 he plans to consult with police, housing officers and unions to craft a reduced budget that “protects front-line services.”
As well as assuring that he will “close the gap” in the borough’s budget, the Mayor reiterated his promise to deliver on housing, education and services for young people and “improve on what the existing administration has done.”