Cllr Jas Athwal reflects on journey to becoming Redbridge Council leader
PUBLISHED: 13:00 16 June 2014 | UPDATED: 09:55 18 June 2014
The new leader of Redbridge Council has reflected on the journey which culminated in him leading his Labour group to overall control of the borough.
Cllr Jas Athwal, a Mayfield ward councillor, was speaking at the first full meeting of the council since the elections.
This is the first time a Labour leader has been elected with an overall majority.
He said: “First and foremost it is great privilege and honour - and a great responsibility - taking on this job.
“I will do it with the best of my ability - for my party and the people of Redbridge. We are here for the residents.”
Cllr Athwal thanked his family for allowing to do his job, and also fellow Mayfield councillor Cllr Ayodhiya Parkash for persuading him to become a councillor.
He said: “For me it started five years ago when Cllr Parkash came to me and said, “I think you should be a councillor and then he said to me it’s only an hour [every month].
“What he really meant is you only spend an hour at home. That is why I am standing here today.
“I would like to thank my family for putting up with me and for me never being at home. My parents spent 25 years working in a factory - the same factory - to get me an education that is why I am here, so thank you.”
Cllr Wes Streeting (Lab, Aldborough) paid tribute to Cllr Athwal - a man he described as not only a colleague, but also a friend.
Labour’s deputy leader said: “The first thing to say is he is diligent, he is also determined - he will always push to go that extra mile.
“He has a big heart and a hard head - these qualities will serve us very well.”