Andrew Cregan, Councillor for Island Gardens ward in Tower Hamlets, has today defected to the Liberal Democrats over Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s support for Brexit. This means Labour lose control of the Council, and it moves to no overall control.
Andrew said: “After much soul searching, I have resigned my membership of the Labour Party in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, where I have served as the Chairman of the Labour Group of Councillors.
I joined the Labour Party as a teenager because I believed in its core values. At the time it was an unambiguously pro-European party, but today that is no longer the case.
I believe that Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has taken the Labour Party backwards in many ways, and he has failed to put forward the overwhelming case for remaining in the European Union, both during the referendum campaign and ever since. In doing so he has let down all the people of Britain.
I will have no part of a political party that is acquiescent in taking our country out of the European Union and the Single Market, breaking links with our friends, allies and closest trading partners.
I have today joined the Liberal Democrats as a party that is dedicated to keeping the UK open, tolerant and united. And remains unambiguously pro-European.”
Parliamentary Spokesperson for Poplar & Limehouse, Elaine Bagshaw said: "I'm delighted to welcome Andrew to the Liberal Democrats today. Brexit is one of the biggest threats to the UK there has been in our lifetime, yet Jeremy Corbyn and Labour have forgotten what it means to be an opposition. They are skipping hand in hand off the edge of the Brexit cliff with Theresa May and the Tories.
Tower Hamlets is home to Canary Wharf and a growing technology industry. All of that is under threat from Brexit. Thousands of jobs will be lost if financial services firms have to leave, and a borough that already has nearly 50% of its children growing up in poverty will only see that get worse. Corbyn and the Labour party are being totally complicit in the damage Brexit will wreak on our local area.
I encourage any members of the Labour party who really care about us being open, tolerant and united as a country to join the Liberal Democrats today."
Following Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron's statements in the media this morning, Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats have joined him in condemning Theresa May's implied support for Trump's ban on Muslims.
Local Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson, Elaine Bagshaw, said: "It took hours for Theresa May to say she disagreed with this utter disgrace of a policy, and that was only after significant pressure. Even now, all we have is a weak, mealy-mouthed statement saying she doesn't agree with the policy.
Liberal Democrats across the country have been completely appalled by Trump's actions and the Conservative Government's response. Banning people on the grounds of their Muslim religion, including people who already have Green Cards and refugees fleeing violence in Syria is something we won't stand for. It is Liberal Democrats who are on the side of the people being discriminated against by this atrocious policy."
Local residents are furious at Labour's plans which could see more police cuts and crime soar.
In January’s budget from City Hall, Labour failed to save funding for additional police officers - breaking a key election promise.
Tower Hamlets is already seeing an increase in crime, whilst it drops in other parts of the capital. Reported crime rose by nearly 8% in Tower Hamlets. Across London it dropped by nearly 3%. Many residents have told us that anti-social behaviour and drug related crime is on the increase and is a constant worry.
Local campaigner Elaine Bagshaw said, “People are tired of constant broken promises from Labour. Anti-social behaviour, drug dealing and drug taking are seen constantly in our area. The police are too stretched to deal with the problem. Tower Hamlets needs a fair deal on policing, with more funding and bobbies on the beat to address our growing problems.”
We call on Labour to:
1: Stick to their 2016 promise to preserve police funding
2: Give Tower Hamlets Police the funding it needs to address the increasing crime in the Borough
Please sign our petition.
Parents and members of the local community are outraged at plans to change the name of Osmani School to Vallance School from September. Parents were informed of the change in a letter on the 12th January. There has been no consultation with parents, children or the community on the change.
Local campaigner Elaine Bagshaw said: "This is an outrageous and unnecessary move. Osmani School received a "good with outstanding features" rating from Ofsted, so why isn't the school publicising that rather than trying to change the name?
Osmani School is named after a key figure in Bangladesh's history. It's important that our local community keeps these links to its heritage and celebrates them. The move has caused a huge amount of upset to parents and the local community. I and the local Liberal Democrats will be working with parents and people from across the political spectrum to make sure the Osmani School stays."
At a public meeting last night, attended by Liberal Democrat Elaine Bagshaw and representatives from The People's Alliance, parents and community leaders made it clear that this change would hurt them as a community and said they felt attacked. We hope that the school staff and governors listen to their voices and overturn the decision.
After a spate of thefts and muggings around Bartlett Park over Christmas and the New Year, local resident and campaigner Elaine Bagshaw is calling on the Council and Poplar HARCA to install more CCTV in the area.
"We all have a right to feel safe in our homes and communities. That's under threat around Bartlett Park. When residents have reported crimes and problems to the police we've been told the area isn't covered by CCTV. As it's clear the problem is increasing, I'm asking the Council and Poplar HARCA to work together to give us a better chance of catching the culprits and make everyone feel secure in the area again."
You can sign the petition and support this campaign here: https://www.change.org/p/tower-hamlets-council-install-cctv-around-bartlett-park
Our local council in Tower Hamlets has spent £7052.75 compensating motorists for damage caused by potholes since 2012, figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.
Nationally a total of £12 million have been paid out over the last four years, with an average payment per person of £650.
The figures were uncovered by Freedom of Information requests to 500 councils by the Liberal Democrats.
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson Elaine Bagshaw said:
"This is a lose-lose situation for everyone, whether they are motorists, councils or taxpayers.
“People already have to fork out so much to drive a car, the least they should expect is that their vehicle doesn't get ruined by a bumpy road.
“Thousands of pounds are now being spent on pay-outs that could have been invested instead in fixing our roads.
"This is a symptom of the short-termist approach being taken to infrastructure investment.
"Roads should be fixed quickly so this compensation does not have to be paid out in the first place.”
Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats were shocked to learn that Blackwall and Cubitt Town councillor Chris Chapman and his partner Jonathon Carter had been the victims of homophobic abuse twice last week, while out on public transport.
This isn’t a party political matter – this sort of abuse is just wrong.
It’s the twenty-first century and London is one of the most liberal cities in the World. Of course couples, whatever their gender, should be able to feel safe to have a kiss.
We hope Mr Chapman and Mr Carter quickly get over this, and have a very Merry Christmas.
As many in our community gather to mark the 45th Anniversary of Bangladesh Victory Day, Parliamentary Spokesperson for Poplar & Limehouse, Elaine Bagshaw said:
"Today we remember the 3 million people who lost their lives during the Liberation War, and the 10 million people who became refugees during the conflict.
"We celebrate how Bangladesh has progressed since becoming independent, with its poverty rate falling from 57% in 1990 to 25.6% in 2014 and making great contributions to culture.
"But we also recognise the challenges they face in the form of climate change and an increasingly unstable international picture. We hope that we can work together, alongside other nations, to tackle these challenges."
This evening, Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake raised an urgent intervention
during the Emergency Debate on International action to protect civilians in Aleppo and Syria. The international community’s reaction has been lamentable, and this parliament’s own reaction feeble.
Watch Tom's intervention here ➡ http://bit.ly/2htoQqm
Shockwaves from this will be felt for decades. The Government must now again consider air aid drops, and even drops for areas other than Aleppo. The Government must also think about hitting the Russians where they will feel it: their pockets. The Maginitsky Amendment to the Criminal Law Bill will stop the UK becoming a safe haven for the profits of human rights abusers, and the Government must accept it.
December 1st is the Day we remember the people living with HIV and AIDS.
Today we remember those who have died, and salute those who have fought this disease to make the World a better place for all our communities.