Serious allegations have caused the leader of Redbridge Council to be suspended from the Labour Party.

Jas Athwal has been suspended to become an Ilford South candidate on Friday (October 4) at 11pm over disputed allegations that were first made against him in August.

Shortly before the final decision was expected for the candidate for Ilford South, Labour’s ruling national executive committee decided to reopen candidate applications for former Labour MP Mike Gapes seat.

Cllr Athwal shared a public statement regarding the allegations, he said: “Untrue allegations were made against me on 13 August. I responded in detail to the Labour Party on 20th August, with supporting evidence including witness statements, proving the allegations were untrue.

“No reply was received from the Labour party. Nothing was heard until late yesterday [October 4], my solicitor was emailed at 11pm, advising that I was suspended from the labour party.

He added: “This is not a fair process. It is contrary to natural justice. All I seek is a fair hearing and due process.

“The Labour Party has had every opportunity to deal with this manner properly and fairly in the past seven weeks and chose only to act late yesterday by suspending me when I had no time to challenge that decision.”

Due to the apparent late action shown by the Labour Party, West Streeting, the Labour MP for the Ilford North constituency, described the decision a “stitch up.”

Mr Streeting wrote on Twitter: “The Labour Party must suspend the selection process in Ilford South immediately. Proceeding under these circumstances will only confirm for many our suspicion that the suspension of the local frontrunner, Cllr Jas Athwal, just 15 hours before the vote is politically motivated and biased in order to stitch up the selection.

“While it is right for the Labour Party to take all complaints seriously, the selection process must be suspended until this matter is fully investigated and resolved so that every candidate is given a fair chance and every member of Ilford South Labour Party is given a real choice.”

The East London Guardian have reached out to Mr Athwal for further comment about the allegations.