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Leader of Redbridge London Borough Council

Profession: Leader



Jas Athwal (/ˈətwæl/; born September 1963) is a British Labour Party politician who currently serves as the Leader of Redbridge London Borough Council.

Political career

In the 2010 local elections, Athwal was elected as a Labour councillor for the Mayfield ward on Redbridge London Borough Council, taking the seat from the Conservative Party with a majority of 1368 votes.

Athwal was elected to lead the Labour Group on Redbridge Council on 11 October 2011, with 15 of the 21 votes. This followed a vote of no confidence in the previous leader, Cllr Bob Littlewood. In the 2014 local elections, Athwal led the Redbridge Labour Party to win its first ever majority on Redbridge Council, gaining 11 seats to give Labour a total of 35 of the 63 seats, winning control from the incumbent Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition. Athwal was elected to serve as the first-ever Labour majority Leader of Redbridge Council.

At the May 2018 borough elections, Athwal led the Labour Party to another victory, securing 51 of the 63 seats. This left the Conservative opposition with 12 councillors and the Liberal Democrats with none.

In 2019, Athwal was elected Executive member for Crime and Public Protection of London Councils, the local government association that represents London's 32 Borough Councils.

Shortly before the 2019 general election, Athwal stood to be selected to be the Labour parliamentary candidate for his home constituency of Ilford South, with the incumbent Labour MP Mike Gapes having defected to Change UK. Athwal was suspended from the party on the evening before members were due to vote, on the basis of serious allegations of sexual harassment. Athwal denied the allegations and called for due process. Sam Tarry, Athwal's rival in the contest, was subsequently selected in a vote a few weeks later. The timing of Athwal's suspension on the evening before the vote, was publicly questioned by neighbouring MP, Wes Streeting, since Tarry had close links to Jeremy Corbyn, the then Leader of the Labour Party. The leader of the Conservative opposition on Redbridge Council urged Athwal to stand down as leader until the matter of his disputed suspension from the Labour Party was resolved. Redbridge Labour Group responded with a statement that "While this process runs its course, Jas Athwal will continue as Leader of Redbridge Council with our full support".

On 15 September 2020, Athwal was cleared of wrongdoing by the Labour Party, and his suspension was lifted. Athwal called for an independent probe into the way that he was suspended on the eve of the selection vote.

On 10 October 2022, Athwal was selected as the Labour prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC) for the Ilford South constituency at the next election, defeating the incumbent Sam Tarry, by 499 votes to 361.

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