The merry-go-round of Tower Hamlets politics continues: another allegedly loyal party member who was elected in May last year by promising he would deliver official manifesto pledges has thrown all his words back in his voters’ faces.
This time it’s not a Labour member who has defected to Lutfur Rahman’s growing group of independents, but a Tory: Cllr Maium Miah.
To be honest, it’s not surprising: three weeks ago I reported here that Maium travelled with Lutfur Rahman and other supporters to campaign for the by-election victory of Ed Miliband adviser’s, Jon Ashworth, in Leicester South earlier his year.
I was told by one witness that MP Keith Vaz, who was compering the victory celebrations, even hinted there would soon be a Tory defection….but Vaz apparently thought the switch would be to Labour.
No, it doesn’t work like that in Tower Hamlets. Labour is not in control of the political patronage – Lutfur is.
Expect some form of “special responsibility allowance” to end up in the defector’s pocket sometime soon.
By the way, when quizzed about his coach trip to Leicester, he assured Tory boss Peter Golds that he had been duped. Maium, an ex-Labour party member, told him he thought he was just going there for “a community visit to a restaurant and a mosque” and that when he realised its “true purpose” he made himself scarce from Lutfur’s group and “went to have a look around the city”.
If so, that seems a bare-faced lie.
Here’s the email he just sent to Cllr Golds:
Dear Councillor Golds
I write to inform you that from henceforth I resign from the Conservative Party from immediate effect.
Councillor Mohammed Maium Miah
UPDATE – 4.50pm, July 28
Lutfur is now very close to controlling the magic 17 councillors required to block any budget amendments by Labour (that’s a third of the 51 councillors).
He now has eight original independents, plus the five recent “whip defectors” from Labour, plus Maium. That makes 14, but he also has almost guaranteed two Respect members, so that’s 16. So that leaves the lone Lib Dem Stephanie Eaton in an extremely interesting position. So far, she’s been happy to side with Lutfur on several issues, but now she might just extract a higher price for co-operation. Of course, Lutfur could trump her by securing another floor-crosser from Labour.