Redbridge Council has finally filled important cabinet positions left vacant for months amid a dramatic reshuffle announced today.

The positions responsible for housing and crime have both been vacant for at least three months after one cabinet member publicly resigned and another quietly stepped down.

The cabinet member in charge of civic pride - including the controversial Quiet Streets programme - has left his position for a newly created role, with another councillor stepping up to replace him.

This means the number of councillors in the full cabinet has increased from nine to 10, with some councillors taking on new responsibilities in addition to their old work.

Read more: Redbridge Council's cabinet member for housing resigns

Former cabinet member for housing and homelessness Cllr Farah Hussain (Lab, Valentines) resigned after more than five years at the end of September.

In a statement on Twitter, she said the decision was prompted by a desire to spend more time with her family following the death of her father from Covid-19 in May.

Cllr Bob Littlewood (Lab, Seven Kings) left his cabinet role for crime, safety and community cohesion around the same time, although the exact date of his departure is unclear.

Cllr Vanisha Solanki (Lab, Fullwell) will take up the housing and homelessness portfolio, while Cllr Khayer Chowdhury (Lab, Valentines) will be responsible for crime and community cohesion.

Cllr John Howard (Lab, Aldborough) is no longer responsible for civic pride and will take on a newly created role as the cabinet member for stronger communities.

His new work will include supporting local high streets and working with the voluntary sector.

Read more: Former Redbridge councillor jailed for electoral fraud

He is replaced by Cllr Jo Blackman (Lab, Wanstead Village), who will also be responsible for the environment, an issue which did not previously have a dedicated member.

Deputy leader Kam Rai (Goodmayes) will now be responsible for leisure and culture, in addition to continuing his work on the council’s finances.

Council leader Jas Athwal was formerly the cabinet member for growth and leisure and will now focus solely on his work as leader

Cllr Athwal said: “I am delighted to welcome Jo, Vanisha and Khayer to the cabinet. Their drive and passion for delivering for local people will help us to build our vision for a better borough.”

“Throughout the pandemic our cabinet have worked hard to support and protect local people across Redbridge and our new team will continue to do so.”

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