Ex-mayor Lutfur Rahman, banned from standing for public office until 2020, has been filmed canvassing for the Independent Group in Tower Hamlets.
WhatsApp groups across the borough have been buzzing as residents have sent the video below to each other.
LW has been sent the camera phone footage by numerous sources and publishes it here in the public interest.
The short clip shows Lutfur Rahman discussing how his party can help a resident with improved parking facilities. Cllr. Maium Miah (Independent Group, Canary Wharf) can be seen standing behind him.
Lutfur and his team
The conversation is in Bangladeshi but two translations agree that Rahman can be heard saying that if the resident votes for “him and his team”, (Cllr. Ohid Ahmed and others), then they will bring back a Council system that allows properties with three or more bedrooms to have parking facilities for more than one vehicle.
The original residents parking scheme was brought in during the Rahman administration of 2010 – 2014 but then overturned by Council.
Not bribery, not illegal
It should be emphasised that the video just shows the normal way that any candidate of any party canvasses for votes in this borough or elsewhere.
It is not illegal, is not against Electoral Commission guidelines, and certainly not an attempt at bribery in any shape or form.
Sources say that Rahman is concentrating on canvassing for his chosen inner circle of candidates such as Cllr. Maium Miah.
By doing this Rahman hopes to ensure that these people will keep his mayoral seat warm until such time as he can stand for public office and become mayor of the borough once more.
We have had possession of the above video for the last 48 hours and have given much consideration before publishing it today.
Our intention in making it available to a wider audience outside closed WhatsApp groups is that borough residents have the right to know that once again how Lutfur Rahman, despite being thrown out of office, is taking an active part in the election campaign for Cllr. Ohid Ahmed.
It is a widely held belief that Ohid Ahmed is a proxy candidate for the ex-mayor. We have asked Ohid Ahmed about this issue but he has not replied.
We have also attempted to reduce the possibility of the person who made the film being the subject of any negative repercussions, including making the Special Enquiry Team (SET) at New Scotland Yard and Tower Hamlets MPS aware of its existence and the location where it was filmed.
Report electoral crime
If you wish to report any behaviour which you think may be a breach of election rules you can contact the SET by emailing them via SETElections@met.pnn.police.uk
SET officers stress that if anyone wishes to speak to the MPS then their identity will be kept under strict control – or alternatively they can pass information to them via the Crimestoppers site or by calling 0800 555 111.