Two years after the judgement of the electoral petition that Lutfur Rahman and every single one of his Tower Hamlets First councillors had been corruptly elected he and his followers continue to ignore the law with impunity.
Reliable sources have told us that today Lutfur Rahman will be the star guest at a St Dunstan’s ‘ward meeting’ organised by Cllr. Mahbub Alam who states he is a member of the ‘Independent Group’ aka Tower Hamlets First aka Tower Hamlets Together.
As previously stated by LW 27 Emmott Close is Emmott Senior Citizen Lodge which is a property belonging to Tower Hamlets Council.
Ward meeting? Yeah, right.
You will note from the invite we published yesterday that this is billed as a ‘ward meeting’.
But by any description this is a political and partisan meeting and, if previous behaviour is anything to go by, if you are not a supporter of Lutfur Rahman / Tower Hamlets First / Tower Hamlets Together you will not be allowed entry.
The reason this is billed as a ward meeting is an attempt to get round the code of conduct for local councillors. We tried to find the code of conduct specific to Tower Hamlets but gave up after an hour.
The code of conduct does not vary between local authorities so we have quoted from other local councils below. [Note to whoever runs the Tower Hamlets Council and Electoral Commission websites – they are not fit for purpose.]
Code of Conduct? Wassat?
Relevant extracts from the code of conduct for elected councillors is as follows:
“Council resources must not be used for the promotion of any of the election candidates or political parties, or for campaigning for or against any of the candidates or parties (with the public meeting exception applying to election candidates).”
“Members may use Council facilities and resources for political purposes, in connection with the following business;
(a) holding ward surgeries *
(b) dealing with correspondence from constituents
(c) communication group activities
(d) meetings between group members”
“A Member’s use of Council facilities and resources must not extend to political parties more generally. Use of Council owned premises for party political purposes (where such meetings are used to further the political aims and objectives of the party concerned) must be restricted to premises available to the public generally and paid for at the full hire costs.”
We do not pretend to be experts on the law regarding the conduct of local councillors but it seems to us and other residents that it is wrong for Cllr. Mahbub Alam to use the Council premises at Emmott Senior Citizen Lodge for a party political meeting.
This is standard practice for Tower Hamlets First. During the 2015 election campaign Calders Wharf Community Centre was used in this way by Cllr. Rabina Khan (when she and Lutfur Rahman were best buddies) and only Rahman’s supporters were allowed entry.
Here is an account from a resident that describes what went on during the 2015 re-run of the 2014 Mayoral election at Calders Wharf:
“I tried to attend an election meeting held at Calders Wharf community centre at Island Gardens on Thursday 21 May. I walked in and was immediately told by a man presumably acting as a bouncer to leave or the police would be called. I was told to stop recording on my phone (which I wasn’t) and I was then told to handover my phone, which I obviously ignored.
When I walked in I could see Lutfur Rahman was on his feet addressing the hall, in Bengali, which was 100% Asian. Mainly men. Rabina Khan was sat next to Rahman leading the applause.
At no point was I asked who I was or why I was there, it was get out now from the word go.
I decided to leave after a few minutes and was followed by this ‘bouncer’ all the way through the car park. The whole incident was very unpleasant. It was clear that as a white person I was not welcome and threatening me with the police was laughable but at the same time worryingly sinister.“
It remains to be seen if today’s meeting at 27 Emmott Close will go ahead as planned now that it has been publicised.
From our perspective little has changed in Tower Hamlets. The new (democratically elected) Mayor has made significant progress in repairing the Council administration crippled by Rahman’s corruption. In tandem with this the DCLG Commissioners have worked hard to change the culture of the council and restore basic democratic processes.
But the virus that has infected our borough remains.
The reason why the virus remains is because the Metropolitan Police Service failed to perform its duty and carry out a rigorous investigation into offences of corruption and perjury and instead made their own decision not to prosecute.
With pressure from the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, the DCLG Commissioners, members of the Greater London Authority, our MP Jim Fitzpatrick. local councillrs and many other politicians and residents a public enquiry into this issue may now happen.
The harsh reality is that Lutfur Rahman is attempting his political comeback and, despite his latest political vehicle Tower Hamlets Together being refused registration by the Electoral Commission, our money is on him finding another route to power.
When that happens Tower Hamlets will once again be submerged into the sewer of corruption from which it is still struggling to emerge.
Borough residents are still slogging away trying to reveal the truth and put things right. It would be good to think that these residents had some proactive high profile support from the Department of Communities and Local Government.
Sir Eric’s famed “armchair auditors” need something more than determination to do the job. Because no-one else is doing it.
Which might be the greatest shame of all.
LW wishes to express its thanks to the numerous borough residents who have contributed to this and recent news stories.