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Tower Hamlets election: Labour executive shuns democracy

Eight Labour councillors in London’s Tower Hamlets have been expelled from the party for backing independent candidate Lutfur Rahman for mayor. The Labour Party national executive (NEC) removed Lutfur as the party’s candidate. One of the council

Issue No. 2222

“Lutfur was dropped from the original candidate shortlist. He challenged that decision at the High Court and was reinstated.

We had the selection meeting in September—881 members came.

Lutfur won with 433 votes. Helal Abbas came third with 157.

Helal made a complaint to Labour’s NEC that Lutfur had pocket [fake] members and had intimidated people.

These allegations are unfounded. People had to come in person to the selection meeting with photo ID and proof of address, or else they were sent away. And the meeting was conducted by the regional Labour Party.

A few weeks later, we hear in the press that Lutfur is not the candidate.


The Labour NEC decided the democratically selected candidate should be removed. So we’re supporting him—we’re honouring the decision of the members.

Lutfur introduced the London living wage for Tower Hamlets council workers. We bought back council houses and rehoused over 500 overcrowded households. We started building over 1,000 social homes.

These are just some of the policies Lutfur implemented. If he’s not mayor, things will go the opposite way. If elected he will fight to save jobs and services.

I’m working class, a socialist, a proud Muslim and trade unionist. I think Lutfur has the better policies.

Not every policy is perfect, but he does his best for ordinary people, and has us to remind him of that.

The biggest issue though is democracy. An injustice has been done. I’ll fight all the way. I’m defending Labour members’ decisions.”

Ken Livingstone on Lutfur

Ken Livingstone, Labour candidate for London mayor, released a statement on Lutfur’s removal. He condemns Labour’s NEC saying it, “behaved in a way that breached all rules of fairness and justice”.

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Tue 5 Oct 2010, 17:44 BST
Issue No. 2222
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