Some have wondered how long Labour would hold out in their determination to remain in Opposition in Tower Hamlets. The excellent commenter Judoker has more than once made the point on this blog that Labour sees last month’s Mayoral election as a watershed, that a line has been drawn in the sand allowing the party to be cleansed of malevolent forces.
I’ve not been so sure. The forthcoming by-election in Spitalfields and Banglatown on December 16 will be a good pointer. On Saturday, Labour selected a chap called Abdul Alim to be their candidate. No one knows too much about him, other than he’s apparently been a consistent campaigner for Labour over the years.
Labour’s selection panel compromised Chris Weavers, Clair Hawkins and Graham Taylor, all of whom are from the “this party needs cleaning up” faction. Bow West councillor, and Labour’s chief whip, Anwar Khan was also on the panel.
Respect, who will choose their candidate within the next 36 hours, believe Amin is a Lutfur Rahman man, but I’ve no idea. It will be interesting to see if Lutfur will publicly endorse him. If he does, that will be a clear signal of where he wants his future to lie.
It would also add to the arguments of those Labour councillors who are still trying to persuade their colleagues to work with Lutfur’s administration. I understand that those discussions are ongoing and that some in the party are now increasingly worried that Marc Francis may change his mind and help his old friend out.
Lutfur could also of course back an independent candidate, but I suspect he could just hedge his bets and keep his counsel private.
As an aside, among those who failed to make Labour’s shortlist in Spitalifields were two former councillors, Abdus Salique and Wais Islam, both of whom are known Lutfur Rahman fans. That Wais actually remains a party member is more than surprising and underlines Labour’s double-standards during this saga. You’ll remember that not only did he publicly back Lutfir for mayor, but also that he made anti-Semitic comments about my name here. Yes, he apologised to both me and some of his colleagues for his outburst, but compare Labour’s inaction with the commendable way in which Respect dealt with another foul-mouthed tirade by one of its senior members, Abul Hussain.
Respect choose Fozol Miah to be their candidate in the Spitalfields and Banglatown by-election
The Tower Hamlets Respect Party today chose former councillor Fozol Miah to be their candidate in the Spitalfields and Banglatown by-election to be held on 16th December. Fozol Miah was councillor for this ward from 2006 to 2010.
In 2006 Fozol Miah received more votes than the newly elected Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, who represented the same ward and he increased his vote by a further 200 votes in the most recent local elections, despite losing the seat.
Fozol Miah said: “I am greatly honoured to have been selected again by the Respect Party to seek to represent this ward. And I am greatly honoured to be able to stand before the voters of Spitalfields and Banglatown again to ask them if they will vote for me to represent them in the council chamber.
“We are facing the most terrible assault from this Condem Coalition government on the services that so many people in Tower Hamlets depend on. I strongly supported the election of Mayor Lutfur Rahman. If elected, I pledge I will work with him to ensure that everything possible is done to protect the people of Tower Hamlets from this assault. But I will also ensure that wherever and whenever criticism and opposition to his policies are justified, I will provide that criticism and opposition.
“I am looking forward to this election in the ward I was proud to serve for four years and to seek again the opportunity to serve the residents of this most deprived of areas.”