Barking and Dagenham councillor under investigation is suspended from the Labour Party
PUBLISHED: 18:39 22 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:56 23 May 2018
A Labour councillor who is embroiled in a scandal over allegedly not declaring a rental property in Barking owned by her husband has been suspended by her party.
Prior to the election Laila Butt was responsible for punishing rogue landlords in her capacity as the cabinet member for enforcement and community safety, a role she stepped down from two weeks ago.
The council is currently investigating Cllr Butt. It is a criminal offence for a councillor not to declare their own or a spouse’s financial interests within 28 days of taking up office.
The property, which is in Barking, also does not appear on a compulsory private landlord register, which is a breach of the council requirements.
She will now be the only non-Labour politician in the council and Cllr Butt remains an elected politician.
A Labour spokesman said: “We can confirm that Laila Butt has been suspended from the Labour Party and, by extension, Barking and Dagenham Labour Group pending the outcome of an investigation.
“Cllr Butt remains the councillor for Abbey ward but is currently not a member of any political group on the council.
“We are not in a position to make any further comment at this stage.”
Conservative London Assembly member Andrew Boff, who unsuccesfully stood to be a councillor in the local election, has criticised the party’s delay in suspending her.
He said: “They waited around and they left a decision until after the election. I don’t think there are many proud people in Labour at the moment.
“It could have been done before the election. Voters could then have made a choice knowing all the facts.”
The allegations were first made just days before the local elections on May 3.
Cllr Butt has previously issued an apology for her actions.
She said: “I am truly sorry for the embarrassment this has caused to the local Labour Party.
“It was a complete failure on my part, which is why I felt it was necessary to step down from the cabinet prior to the local elections.”