Cllr Anwar Khan to take grievance about Cllr Joshua Peck through Council channels
“I’m not letting this drop. It’s a question of principle,” former Labour Councillor Anwar Khan, Bow West ward, told East London News.
Cllr Khan was referring to the actions of former Labour Group Leader Cllr Josh Peck, who turned Cllr Khan’s microphone off at the last Council meeting in an attempt to silence his former comrade.
“Turning someone’s microphone off is an unorthodox way of trying to silence them,” said Cllr Khan. “But it is doubly disturbing when it is done by a Labour Councillor because the Labour Group is not used to dealing with Bangladeshi councillors who have a voice of their own and want to use it. On the one hand, what Cllr Peck did was an attempt to silence me; but on the other hand it was also a signal to the community signal to the community that the Labour Party in Tower Hamlets is not prepared to listen to its own Bangladeshi councillors.”
Cllr Khan believes that Cllr Peck does regret taking this very overt course of action, because Cllr Peck has appeared on various Bangladeshi TV channels explaining why he turned the microphone off. According to Cllr Khan, the explanation Cllr Peck has given is that the Speaker of the Council, Cllr Lesley Pavitt, was on her feet when Cllr Khan was speaking. Councillors are not supposed to speak when the Speaker is on her feet, and Cllr Peck says that he was coming to the assistance of the Speaker by turning Cllr Khan’s microphone off so that she did not have to stop him speaking.
Cllr Lesley Pavitt is widely known as a very capable Speaker and she has not had to ask backbench councillors to help her maintain order in the Chamber before. Cllr Khan is dismissive of Cllr Peck’s explanation. He points out that the Council’s film of the meeting shows the Speaker inviting him to speak, and she says that although she stood up after this, she was doing so for comfort rather than to stop him. Cllr Khan also points out that if Cllr Peck had a considered reason for turning off the microphone, he cannot even use the excuse that he acted in the heat of the moment.
“To this date, Cllr Peck has still not apologised,” said Cllr Khan. Cllr Khan told East London News that when the Council’s monitoring officer, Mr Sullivan-Gould, returns from leave, Cllr Khan will see him to discuss lodging a formal complaint. “I cannot ignore this action,” said Cllr Khan. “To insult me is one thing, but in the context of how the Labour Group is sidelining Bangladeshi councillors, I owe it to the community to see this thing through.”