Rodwell withdrawn from candidacy for Labour safe seat amid an internal investigation

Barking & Dagenham council leader Darren Rodwell has been dropped as a Labour candidate in the upcoming election amid an internal party process looking into allegations made against him.

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Darren Rodwell has been leader of Barking & Dagenham council since 2014

Rodwell, who has been an outspoken Labour advocate for increased housebuilding, was not included in a list of parliamentary candidates approved by Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee announced yesterday.

Rodwell, who was interviewed on Building’s Home Truths podcast last month, had been expected to be the party’s candidate for the London constituency of Barking, a Labour safe seat.

Rodwell, who has been leader of the council for a decade, has been contacted for comment.

He has come under fire in recent years for a string of incidents, most recently a complaint of sexual harassment after a woman complained he had touched her hands and legs inappropriately at an event last month.

Rodwell told The Guardian on Monday: “I utterly refute what is being said, specifically: I have not engaged in sexual harassment of any kind.”

He added that he did not want allegations about his behaviour to be a “distraction” and was withdrawing to “put family first”.

Rodwell has also made headlines for claiming in 2022 that he had asked police not to intervene if they were contacted by a resident he was planning to confront at their home.

He said on the ‘Property She’ podcast that he used official systems to find the address of the individual, who had threatened him online.

Rodwell also recounted how, in a separate incident, he chased two men down the street with a baseball bat after they attacked his home.

The councillor has led the local authority since 2014 and spearheaded the creation of Be First, the council’s wholly owned development company.

He is credited with achieving the largest number of social or affordable housing starts in any London borough and claims to have delivered 20% of all of the capital’s new starts for this tenure each year for the past five years.

Election focus

With the UK set for a general election on 4 July, the country is facing some serious problems.

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Low growth, flatlining productivity, question marks over net zero funding and capability, skills shortages and a worsening housing crisis all amount to a daunting in-tray for the next government.

This year’s general election therefore has very high stakes for the built environment and the economy as a whole. For this reason,

Building’s election coverage aims to help the industry understand the issues and amplify construction’s voice so that the parties hears it loud and clear.