A council’s deputy leader has thrown his hat into the ring for selection as the Labour candidate for Ilford South.

Cllr Kam Rai, deputy leader of Redbridge Council, is putting himself forward to contest the seat held by former Labour MP Mike Gapes.

The announcement follows the suspension of the leader of Redbridge Council, Cllr Jas Athwal, from the Labour party following disputed serious allegations.

Cllr Kam Rai said: "No one wanted the selection in Ilford South to be taking place in these circumstances.

“I’m asking for your support to bring our local party back together, to heal our divisions and unite the whole community behind us - so that we have a strong local Labour MP in Ilford South and a Labour Government led by Jeremy Corbyn in Westminster.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Council leader, Cllr Jas Athwal, was suspended from the Labour party earlier this month

The Goodmayes ward councillor said he was proud of the work he had done as a cabinet member.

He added: “I’ve put more money into adult social services to support pensioners and disabled people with their care.

“I’ve invested in local schools. I’ve kept every library open and funded new play equipment in our parks.

“I put together the big capital programmes to build the first wave of council homes in a generation and to fund new leisure facilities."

Wes Streeting, Labour MP for Ilford North, took to twitter to endorse Cllr Rai, saying: “He has a local record that others can't even begin to touch.”

Mr Streeting had previously described Cllr Athwal’s suspension as a politically-motivated “stitch up” on twitter.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Ilford North MP West Streeting endorsed Cllr Kam Rai

Cllr Rai said: “In my professional life in finance, I’ve helped families struggling with debt, I see the impact of Tory austerity on some of the most vulnerable in our society. It’s something I’m passionate about after seeing my own mother working all hours and juggling the bills looking after three kids.”

“A strong Labour council isn’t enough. We need a Labour government. Having been part of the team that has delivered record results for Labour in Redbridge I want to be part of the team that delivers a Labour government.

“So let’s pull together, work together and win together."