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Archive for September 4th, 2010

Well, well, well…there’s something at least to take from tonight’s result: it will keep the writers of Private Eye amused for the months and years to come.

As I type, I understand that right now in the corridors of the Labour party office in Bethnal Green, there is little celebrating, but much shouting and arguing. The man the party hierarchy tried so hard to block is now its candidate-elect for next month’s mayoral election. If the party confirms his victory and confirms it is willing to let the result stand, it is 95 per cent certain that in about six weeks’ time Lutfur Rahman will be one of the most powerful local politicians in Britain. The man who has been mired in so much controversy, the man who struggles to command an audience, the man who trembles under questioning (and, yes, the man who, to his credit, was also good enough to bow to grass roots pressure and save the Bancroft History Library and archives), will be in charge of a £1billion budget.

I’m told that Lutfur’s campaign was executed like a well-funded “military operation” and he seems to have benefited from what a Bengali councillor told me was a “real absence of the white vote”. This is how it works in Tower Hamlets. There will be close scrutiny over his campaign funds and who has financed him…and who might expect favours in return. His enemies tell me to watch this space for the award of communications/publishing contracts and who might run the lucrative Baishakhi Mela festival.

If Lutfur beats the Lib Dems’ John Griffiths, Tory Neil King and whoever Respect decide to pick, Marc Francis, who six weeks ago probably thought his political career was over, will likely be deputy mayor.

More later, probably.

UPDATE:

You can see how the votes unfolded on this link here.

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