Cllr Jas Athwal reflects on journey to becoming Redbridge Council leader
- Credit: Archant
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.”
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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].
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“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.”