Axed Redbridge Labour leader speaks after no confidence vote

The politician ousted as Labour leader by his colleagues has said he accepts the decision to “refresh” the group.

Cllr Bob Littlewood lost a vote of no confidence held on Tuesday night in Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford.

Fourteen of his colleagues voted him out, while eight called for him to remain in the position. One councillor abstained.

The vote of no confidence was tabled by former Labour leader Cllr Elaine Norman and seconded by Cllr Jas Athwal.

Cllr Littlewood told the Recorder: “I think every now and again the Labour group needs refreshing. I accept the Labour group’s decision.

“I’ve served nearly 10 years as leader and deputy leader and it’s been an honour and a privilege to do that. I’m sure everyone will unite behind the new leader.”

The Seven Kings ward councillor said the Labour group had performed “very well” under his leadership and the party’s relationships with the community and trade unions had been strengthened.

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Cllr Littlewood added: “Members have been much, much, much more active on the doorstep meeting people. That’s been a feature of the period of time where I’ve been leader. I should now be able to spend more time on the doorstep.”

His deputy Cllr Balvinder Saund resigned from her position during Tuesday’s meeting, before a vote of no confidence on her future took place.

In a statement the Seven Kings ward councillor said: “When I stood as councillor, I pledged to my late husband that I will be a community councillor and will have no part to play in any ‘dirty politics’ which go on in the political world.

“By resigning last night as deputy leader, I have kept my word.

“I resigned as I did not want to serve as deputy leader with any other future leader, and want to give priority to my own Seven Kings ward, continue my voluntary work with my Asian ladies who need me more and also spend some time with my children who lost their father in 2008, and hardly see their mother all day and well into the night when I am attending meetings and catching up with my e-mails and paperwork.”

She added: “I am honoured to have served as deputy leader to Cllr Bob Littlewood who is a kind-hearted humble man with integrity and had good intentions for the Labour group and the wider community of Redbridge.”

A vote to choose the Labour group’s new leader and deputy leader will take place on Tuesday.