Cllr. Rabina Khan has alleged that her weekly residents surgery in Glamis Hall had unwelcome visitors in the form of political rivals Cllr. Ohid Ahmed and colleagues.
According to Cllr. Khan she was holding her surgery in the Glamis Hall Community Centre on the Glamis Estate on Thursday 1st of March as she has been doing for the last eight years.
At just before midday Cllr. Ohid Ahmed, Cllr. Mahbub Alam, Bethnal Green candidate Farhana Akther (wife of Cllr. Mahbub) and one other turned up unannounced.
All are members of the Aspire Party / Independent Group.
Cllr. Khan is the mayoral candidate for the People’s Alliance of Tower Hamlets party, Cllr. Ohid Ahmed is the mayoral candidate for the Aspire party / Independent Group.
“Councillors Ohid Ahmed and Mahbub Alam came into my surgery with two other candidates from their party, without any appointments or registration,” said Cllr. Khan talking to LW.
“I was shocked to see Councillor Ahmed talking to several of my residents and then walking out with them. He was continuously wagging his finger and raising his voice. I had no choice but to tell him he needed to leave or I would call the police and report him to the monitoring officer.”
I can talk to who I like
“Councillor Ahmed raised his voice with the residents which prompted me to come out and enquire as to the purpose of his visit and why he was taking residents out with him. At this point Councillor Ahmed shouted “I can talk to who I like”.
After Cllr. Khan protested to the group she alleges that Cllr. Ohid Ahmed said ‘I will show you, you’ll see. I can come where I like to speak to you’.
Glamis Hall is situated within the Glamis Estate which is owned by East End Homes. The hall is not a public place and is funded by private events.
Cllr. Khan said that she felt shaken, shocked and unwell as a result of the behaviour of her unwelcome visitors.
Storm in a teacup
Cllr Mahbub Alam has a very different recollection of events at Glamis Hall calling it “a storm in a teacup – a sinister drama based on [a] totally false and fabricated claim to gain an unfair political advantage,” in a statement to LW.
According to Cllr. Mahbub he and his colleagues were invited to Glamis Hall by two residents as a convenient meeting point for them to hand Cllr. Mahbub a petition regarding the Raine’s House Community Centre refurbishment issue.
Playing the victim card
“We were not aware that there was a surgery there,” states Cllr. Mahbub and that “I believe it is nothing more than a shameful and calculated spin to damage Cllr Ohid Ahmed and his campaign team in order to gain sympathy by playing a victim card to gain an unfair advantage.”
An election without fear
“It’s time to move on and live a life where a woman can have the right to campaign in an election without fear, reprisals and character assassination,” says Rabina who has reported the incident to both the police and the elections monitoring officer.
Exactly what happened at Glamis Hall is in dispute but it is clear there was some sort of altercation.
LW has received detailed statements from both parties and two discrepancies are apparent.
- Cllr. Mahbub states that he was unaware that Cllr. Khan was holding a surgery in Glamis Hall at the time – despite her having regularly done so for the last eight years.
- He also paints a picture of Cllr. Ohid Ahmed and his three colleagues being victimised by Cllr. Khan. Four against one?
Additionally it is well known that Cllr. Khan is still recovering from a serious car crash a few weeks ago where she was trapped for some hours and had to be cut free from the wreckage by the emergency services.
It then seems reasonable to assume that she was not in any condition to engage in a confrontation of any nature with anyone.
Whatever their intent it does seem as if Cllr. Ohid Ahmed, Cllr. Mahbub Alam, Farhana Akther and their colleague believe it is acceptable to encroach into the ward surgery of a rival candidate.
Is this a worrying new trend in Tower Hamlets politics? If so a line has been crossed.
Let’s hope that there will be no repeats of this type of incident before the elections in May.