Tower Hamlets Politics Roundup #2 – the just plain weird parties

…or the return of Shiraj Haque, Oliur’s embarrassing little problem and Lutfur’s £160,000 fundraising gigs.

This is the second part of our round up of events in Tower Hamlets politics. You can read the first part here. But this one is much more entertaining! Promise!

Where were we? Oh yes, bullying!

Cllr. Shiria Khatun explains what is going on to One Bangla News in Bangladeshi. Which is a fat lot of use.

Understandably Cllr. Shiria Khatun was more than a little hacked off by her demotion from being one of the Deputy Mayors, claiming that she had been “bullied and victimised” by Mayor Biggs and has been explaining her reasons to the Bangladeshi media in, er, Bangladeshi.

Unfortunately LW has yet to discover an explanation in English (we have asked for one) so we still have have no idea exactly why she is no longer Deputy Mayor.

(Note: Cllr. Khatun might want to reflect on how many extra votes she could get if she explained what was going on in English. And the fact that a lot of residents find being excluded by use of a language other than English offensive.)

Quick, there’s a bandwagon! Jump!

Cllr. Rabina Khan (PATH, Shadwell) was quick to express her support for Cllr. Shiria / jump on the bandwagon and gushed on social media that “Whatever our political differences bullying has no place in politics! My question is why Mayor Biggs chose to keep Cllr. Rachel Saunders who is responsible for the worst Ofsted report in Tower Hamlets but demoted Cllr Shiria Khatun from her position?”

Bullying? No place in politics? Huh? Does that mean that bullying is now homeless?

Thankfully no-one in Lutfur Rahman’s administration ever knocked on a council officers’ door and explained in some detail how the council officers life would quickly and firmly unravel in unexpected and not very nice ways unless they did exactly what they were told irrespective of the law, council rules and local authority regulations. That wouldn’t do at all, would it?

On a serious note what gives with holding a Campaign against Racism and Hate Crime for a councillor who has, we suspect, just been demoted for not doing her job? What specific form did any bullying take? Trivialising serious issues such as race and hate crime does no-one any favours.

Backyard Comedy Club sold out?

Anyway on Saturday both Cllr. Rabina and Cllr. Shiria were pictured together at the special anti-bullying campaign meeting (see photo below). Quite what Elaine Bagshaw the Liberal Democrat PPC for Poplar and Limehouse was was doing there is beyond us. Maybe the Backyard Comedy Club in Bethnal Green was closed?

(A) Cllr. Shiria Khatun (B) Christine Shawcroft (C) Cllr. Ohid Ahmed (D) Cllr. Rabina Khan (E) Elaine Bagshaw

It was also more than a little interesting to see Christine Shawcroft in the front row of the audience. Ms. Shawcroft is both a firm supporter of Lutfur Rahman, was a Tower Hamlets councillor for many years and a long time member of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Labour Party for which she is seeking re-election. The NEC is Labour’s chief administrative body.

Of more importance than who was in the audience is who was sharing the really very small desk platform with Cllr. Oliur. Have a look.

Shiraj Haque (left) and Cllr. Oliur Rahman PPC for Poplar and Limehouse

Yes that’s right folks, Brick Lane curry king and Tower Hamlets power broker Shiraj Haque!

You may remember the last time that Shiraj Haque dabbled in local politics was when he came out in support of John Biggs during the 2015 Mayoral election which was of course a re-run of the 2014 Mayoral election. This change of direction (or wallet) can only be compared in speed and severity to those of the RAF’s Red Arrows display team, as Shiraj Haque was the backer of Lutfur Rahman in the very first Executive Mayor campaign in 2010.

RAF Red Arrows display their amazing ability to do an abrupt turn: “Turn left!” “No turn right!” “Who cares?”

Quite what the appearance of Mr Haque means is anyone’s guess. One possibility is that Shiraj got his Rahman’s mixed up. Hey, happens to the best of us.

For more information on Shiraj our editorial team urges you to read “Brick Lane curry king and ex-Lutfur money man Shiraj Haque says ‘Vote Biggs’” by the inimitable Ted Jeory.

Oliur’s embarrassing little problem

Apparently Cllr. Oliur Rahman (Independent, Stepney Green) is petrified that the public association between himself and Lutfur Rahman will damage his campaign in Poplar and Limehouse to become the next MP.

If this is the case Cllr. Oliur might be advised to exclude the ex-Mayor from going out campaigning with him as pictured below.

Just a thought…

Ignorance is bliss

Cllr. Oliur is so worried about this issue that he is considering giving a press conference to publicly disassociate himself from Lutfur Rahman.

Needless to say this is likely to make Lutfur Rahman a little miffed and lead to Oliur Rahman losing support from Rahman’s people.

Lutfur Rahman’s support for Oliur as a prospective MP for Tower Hamlets has always been somewhat lukewarm but it shuts Oliur up so serves its purpose.

Oliur was originally intent on fighting the General Election campaign in his natural territory of Bethnal Green and Bow against Rushanara Ali but was persuaded by Lutfur and others that this was not ideal and maybe he should go and become a PPC (Prospective Parliamentary Candidate) in Poplar and Limehouse instead?

So Cllr. Oliur now faces trying to overturn Labour’s Jim Fitzpatrick’s previous general election majority of a mere 17,000 votes.

Oliur says he only needs 20,000 votes to win Poplar and Limehouse. Umm… Sort of. Actually not really.

Best not tell him the reality of his plight, ignorance is bliss after all.

LW is still puzzled by the glaring omission by Cllr. Oliur of any mention whatsoever of his employment at the Stratford Job Centre.

Surely he should be highlighting his work helping others for so many years?

Strange that he abandoned such a promising career for one in politics.

Whats up WhatsApp?

Apparently Cllr. Khales Uddin alluded to some doubts about the integrity of Cllr. Oliur Rahman by asking him, in a public WhatsApp group with several hundred members, “why he was with the fraudster?”. Cheeky!

Sources in Lansbury ward tell us that Cllr. Khales, no fan of either Poplar HARCA or Mayor Biggs, has also been working with Cllr. Rabina Khan on an alternative residents association for Lansbury. More on this in another story.

Update and an apology 16:11 22 May 2017

Cllr. Khales has been in touch with LW to make it clear that he does not work with Cllr. Khan in any way. We apologise for this error.

Ajmal Masroor

Rushanara ALI, Labour Party, Bethnal Green & Bow
Rushanara ALI, Labour Party, Bethnal Green & Bow

And what of new boy Ajmal Masroor? He is presenting himself as an Independent candidate who is the only person who can save Bethnal Green and Bow from the perils of Rushanara Ali (right).

The way Mr Masroor tells it Rushanara is very unpopular with her constituents who she never sees. This might explain why she only had a majority of 24,317 in the last General Election, only just scraping a win over her nearest rival by winning a mere 62% of all votes cast.

Close run thing Rushanara.

Masroor <heart> Rabina

Despite proclaiming himself to be independent it is crystal clear that Mr Masroor has the support of Rabina Khan during the 2017 General Election campaign and that Mr Masroor will in turn stand aside and allow Cllr. Khan a clear run during the 2018 Tower Hamlets Mayoral campaign.

Not quite sure which political party or group this is. Ajmal Masroor is centre, Cllr. Rabina Khan third from left.

Indeed so close is he to Team Khan that they even eat out together.

Cllr. Rabina Khan (A) lunching with colleagues including Ajmal Masroor (B)

It is a genuine shame that Ajmal Masroor threw in his lot with the ‘independents’ (who are not at all independent) so early on in the #GE2017 campaign. Never mind Ajmal and good luck with crowdfunding that other £14,000 you need.

Cllr. Rabina Khan and team out campaigning for Ajmal Masroor

Back to the Lib Dems, Ajmal? Unlikely – they don’t want you.

Lutfur Rahman’s £160,000 worth of donations

Despite being banned from running for public office until 2020 Lutfur Rahman and his team have been busy fundraising for his close colleague Cllr. Ohid Ahmed (Independent Group, Lansbury) who is Lutfur’s choice for Mayor of Tower Hamlets in the 2018 local elections.

£10k donor…

The Wapping Mole tells us that one of 30 donors gave £10,000 to Ohid Ahmed’s Mayoral campaign at a private meeting chaired by Lutfur.

No doubt Ohid will be declaring this donation to the Electoral Commission at some point. LW knows for a fact that the Commission is keeping a very close eye on Tower Hamlets politics. Very close.

…and pledges of another £150k

Moley has very good reason to believe that a total of £150,000 was raised for Ohid Ahmed’s campaign at another meeting which was also chaired by Lutfur Rahman.

LW and borough residents are keen to find out who pledged this cash as well. Very generous indeed. You could buy three Land Rovers for that.

Quite which party or independent individual or Independents or ‘Independent Group’ will declare this £160,000 to the Electoral Commission is anyone’s guess.

If Moley manages to dig out the detail of the finances beforehand the Electoral Commission do we will of course share our findings.

It would be rude not to, especially as every politician in the borough knows that if Ohid Ahmed becomes Executive Mayor the appointment of his best chum Lutfur Rahman as an ‘adviser’ will follow within days if not hours.

Welcome to politics Tower Hamlets style. Or Sylheti style, whichever is the more politically incorrect.

Both the LW Editorial Team and the Wapping Mole would like to express their thanks to the numerous people who have contributed to the above article over the last few weeks. Oh and the posh biscuits at the meetings were lovely. M&S or Lidl?

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