A fierce war of words has broken out in Redbridge Town Hall after a BNP councillor was made vice-chairman of a committee.
Tempers have flared since last week's meeting of the cycling liaison group when Labour's Cllr Filly Maravala and new chairman Lib Dem Cllr Gary Staight named British National Party member Cllr Julian Leppert as vice-chairman. They insist no one else would nominate or take the role, but council leader Keith Prince is fuming - and Labour leader Cllr Elaine Norman is "disappointed".
Cllr Prince said: "I am quite shocked - they don't strike me as BNP sympathisers. I am worried about the message this sends, as the BNP should not be given any platform. A lot of people will be angered by this and I would be interested to see what is thought of this nationally. They could have postponed the appointments and no-one had to nominate him."
Cllr Norman said: "Labour's position is not to share a platform with these people and it is not our policy to nominate them for anything."
Group member Cllr Ronald Barden called the decision a "cock-up" and despite fearing he, as a cabinet member, could not stand, put his name forward. He said: "I was disappointed and surprised they chose to nominate the BNP candidate instead of myself."
The councillors in question hit back and said Cllr Barden wanted to postpone the decision while seeking legal advice. Cllr Maravala said: "This is political opportunism. No one would nominate me and Cllr Leppert was the only option. Cllr Prince would be better off using his energies to run this authority properly."
Cllr Staight warned there would be "consequences" if this row dragged on, but refused to go into details. He said: "Keith Prince is being childish. A decision had to be made on the night."
Cllr Leppert admitted he was surprised, adding: "Filly and Gary are good blokes and I am happy to work with them and the group."
Gill James, who sits on the group as part of London Cycling Campaign, argued it didn't matter as cycling is "all inclusive".