Sources at Tower Hamlets council tell me this evening that the council’s chief executive, Kevan Collins, has resigned. He is moving to head the Education Endowment Foundation, a new body to improve social mobility through education.
This is another huge blow for Lutfur Rahman, Tower Hamlets’ directly-elected mayor – kicked out of the Labour Party for his links with the extremist Muslim group, the Islamic Forum of Europe. It is the second permanent chief executive Lutfur has lost in just over two years. As council leader in 2009, he controversially forced out Mr Collins’ highly-respected predecessor, Martin Smith, an act that cost the council a six-figure sum in compensation.
In a statement to councillors, Mr Collins said: I am grateful for the support and guidance I have received from Councillors from all political groups…the role of Councillors is critical your role as community leaders, insights, knowledge of our communities and democratic mandate has driven our improvements and will continue to be critical as the Borough goes from ‘great things to greater.’”
Notice who he didnt mention there? One Lutfur Rahman, no longer a councillor but the directly-elected mayor.
It will be interesting to learn whether Mr Collins’ departure was forced or voluntary. It may well be the latter. Mr Collins may well have reached the conclusion that many others in London politics have formed – that Lutfur is a slow-motion car-crash who will end up taking down anyone associated with him.
For Lutfur, there might be a silver lining: perhaps he can now appoint a suitably pliant crony who will present less of an obstacle to his efforts to reward with taxpayers’ money, council office and public assets those who helped elect him.