The Lib Dems have just issued the following press release.
The Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Griffiths, today called the Respect Party’s decision not to stand in the mayoral election, but instead back the controversial Labour candidate as “contemptible.”
“There has clearly been a stitch up between Respect and Lutfur Rahman’s Labour Party. This pre-election deal shows complete disrespect for the people of Tower Hamlets.”
“Voters in the borough, including many members of the Labour Party, were already nervous at the prospect of Lutfur Rahman taking the Mayoralty and command of the Council’s £1.3bn a year budget. They will be terrified at the prospect now, given the deal that has clearly been done.”
“It was Respect which organized the petition for the mayoral referendum and campaigned for the yes vote on 6th May. Not to contest the election they wanted is the strongest indication yet that, following George Galloway’s defeat and Respect’s disastrous showing in the Council Elections, the Party is in terminal decline.”
The Lib Dems have repeatedly warned of the danger of an elected mayor leading to a one-Party state in the Borough with power concentrated in one individual.
“In the wrong hands, an all-powerful Mayor, heavily backed by one section of the community, would exaggerate the worst of the Council’s recent tendencies – centralising power and removing accountability of local Councillors for the allocation of public funds.”
“As Mayor, I would build a consensus and encourage cross-community involvement in the political process. This means devolving resources and responsibility to those bodies and communities best placed to make use of them, including community councils, health boards, local schools, as well as tenants/residents’ associations – citizen-run organisations which can provide a check and balance on Mayoral power.”
“This election is an opportunity to reestablish Tower Hamlets as a borough of many neighbourhoods and communities – each one different, but each one contributing to the common wealth, and at the same time providing a necessary check on the power of an executive Mayor.”