An invitation to a special lunch event for women sent by text message on behalf of Aspire party mayoral candidate Ohid Ahmed seems to be a cunning plan to baffle the Electoral Commission. But how?
(Note: Please see response from Cllr. Ohid Ahmed at the bottom of page.)
£25 ticket ‘just for publicity’
The message states that the advertised £25 ticket cost is “…just for publicity! We will not be taking money from people. We have to do this for election commission.”
It was sent to a Tower Hamlets resident who has supported Lutfur Rahman in the past but is no long supporting him.
A copy of the message was sent to LW this morning and we have no reason to doubt its validity.
Selina from Dingle Gardens
The message sender is only identified as being from ’Selina (Dingle Gardens)’ who sources claim is a close personal friend of ex-mayor Lutfur Rahman who lives in Dingle Gardens, Poplar.
You can read the full text of the message below this image:
Transcript of text message
From: Selina (Dingle Gardens)
You are invited to:
Special Womens and Lunch invite by mayoral candidate Ohid Ahmed On 17 Feb at the Atrium, Chesire St, E2 6EJ
Pls confirm your attendance
Thanks for the invite but I’m not paying £25! This is too much to pay
Dont worry this is just for publicity! We will not be taking money from people. We have to do this for election commission
Are you sure this is ok to do?? I will confirm next few days if I can come
For those who would like to attend the special women’s lunch takes place at The Atrium London 124-126 Cheshire Street, Shoreditch, London E2 6EJ on 17 February.
If you attend (it is a lovely venue) do let us know if you have to pay £25 to get in or it is in fact a free lunch!
Update 22 hrs 11 February 2018
We have now received this response from Cllr. Ohid Ahmed via twitter:
“This is completely fabricated, shows the desperation of the right wingers colluding with Labour. My campaign is built on honesty, fairness and transparency for a better borough for local people. Substantiate or stop spreading LIES!”
And an email too:
“Dear Editor, Love Wapping,I write to express my concern at your article/comment posted by Mark Baynes and published on 11.02.18.In the article/post you produce a screenshot of a text inferring or actually referring the message being from me or my team inviting a certain individual to my Womens Gathering. The contents of text are hugely alarming.The screenshot of the text you have decided to print is a total fabrication designed to bring me and my Mayoral Campaign into disrepute and LoveWapping is aiding and abetting this.If you do not remove this screenshot and print a correction and apology then I will be consulting with a my lawyers with a view to taking legal action. Moreover the matter will be reported to the Police so that they too can look into this.Thank youOhid Ahmed”
Too late on reporting it to the police Ohid, we did that hours ago.
Here’s the best email for any issues with allegations of electoral offences: SETElections@met.pnn.police.uk.
We stand by our story as we believe there is a significant public interest in this being published, especially in the context of the judgement of Justice Mawrey at the conclusion of the electoral petition and the dismissal of your cabinet colleagues and political allies Lutfur Rahman and Alibor Choudhury from public office.
To quote paragraph 635 of the judgement by Mr Mawrey QC delivered in the High Court on Thursday 23rd April 2014 regarding the challenge to the Mayoral election in Tower Hamlets held on 22 May 2014:
635 From those decisions, particularly the decisions above on the issue of general corruption under s 164, it follows that the court will have to report that ‘corrupt practices have extensively prevailed at the election in the area of the authority for which the election was held.’ Given the nature of THF as a ‘party’ and the reality of its control by Mr Rahman, this means that the election of all THF Councillors must be taken to have been achieved with the benefit of the corrupt and illegal practices found by this judgment to have been committed.
The final words of paragraph 635 refers to you and your colleagues Cllr. Ohid.
- Is there a Special Womens and Lunch event for you at the Atrium,124-126 Cheshire Street, Shoreditch, London E2 6EJ on 17 February which is part of your mayoral campaign?
- Which political group is organising this event?
- Is the purpose of this event in any way related to fund raising for you, your mayoral campaign or any other political group?
- Is there a ticket cost for this event? If so what is this cost?
- Is entry to this event free?
- Will ex-mayor Lutfur Rahman be attending?
- If Mr. Rahman is attending in what capacity is he there?
All very confusing.
No doubt there is some good reason why the newly approved Aspire Party would send out an invite to a Special Womens and Lunch clearly stating that the ticket cost is £25 and then say that in reality they will not be taking money from people as they are just claiming there is an entry price to keep the Electoral Commission happy.
We just do not know what that reason is.
You can be sure that if the Wapping Mole (or a close personal friend) sends you a lunch invite saying you will be charged £25 for the privilege of Moley’s company we will most certainly be wanting to see your cash before you even sit down! And you can buy us lunch too!
But then we really need the money to keep bringing you amusing little stories like this – and we are not a political party.
No doubt there will be lots more on this curious little ticketed lunch which is really a free lunch issue during the week.
We have sent an email (and a tweet) to mayoral candidate Ohid Ahmed for his comment but had not received a response at the time of publication.
Don’t hold you breath that we will ever get one.