Redbridge councillor awaiting electoral fraud trial resigns amidst cabinet shake-up
- Credit: Archant
A Redbridge Labour councillor who is currently awaiting trial on allegations of electoral fraud has resigned citing health issues.
Chaudhary Mohammed Iqbal (Loxford ward) is accused of “making false statements in candidate nomination papers” during the 2018 local election and his trial is set to begin on January 4 after it was delayed multiple times.
Mr Iqbal confirmed with the Recorder that he resigned as a councillor due to ongoing health issues related to a heart attack he suffered in January 2019. He now lives in the north of England with his son.
The council seat will remain vacant until May when by-elections will take place alongside the Mayoral and London Assembly elections.
It is believed Cllr Bob Littlewood (Lab, Seven Kings) has left his cabinet position for crime, safety and community cohesion recently as well.
Redbridge Council has not responded to multiple requests from the Recorder on why he no longer holds that role.
There are now two vacant cabinet positions after Cllr Farah Hussain resigned from her cabinet position on housing and homelessness in September.
There is also a vacant council seat in Seven Kings after the death of Cllr Stuart Bellwood in August.
Responding to the news of Cllr Iqbal’s resignation the leader of the Conservative group Cllr Linda Huggett (Monkhams) said: “I hope Cllr Iqbal is in the very best of health, but Redbridge residents will be wondering why he did not resign months ago when he was first charged with electoral fraud.
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“In just one year the Labour party has seen their leader suspended for almost a year, accusations of a stitch-up of the Ilford South selection process and now the imminent trial of a Redbridge Labour councillor for electoral fraud.
“It is clear Redbridge Labour is in disarray.
“More Labour councillors should consider their own positions before their party do any further damage to our borough.
“At a time when coronavirus infection rates are soaring in Redbridge we need better and stronger leadership than this.”
The Recorder was not able to get a comment from Cllr Littlewood.