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Archive for July 29th, 2011

On July 4, I reported here that then Tower Hamlets Tory councillor Maium Miah (Millwall) had joined Mayor Lutfur Rahman and his supporters for an away day to Leicester. The next day, he sent a begging email to his concerned party bosses in Mulberry Place. Yesterday, I said he had explained his actions by telling Peter Golds he’d been duped and that it had all been a big mistake.

Well, here is that email, the explanation straight from the horse’s mouth:

To be honest,

Few friends mislead me and took me with them,  saying that they are going to a trip to Leicester so I went.  When i saw Lutfur & co I was shock myself but couldn’t do much.  

But i can assure you i did not take any part what so ever campaigning  for labour.  I and other few stayed away from campaigning, instead we went to the local mosque & shopping area,  not to the mosque Lutfur visited. 

I heard from people that time, kith vath made a comment about Tory Cllr defected to labour.

I made a mistake trusting someone which myself and the party paying the price for. It was a complete set up. From the event to the blogs comments. 

But i did not defect that time or intend to defect in the future. 

The reason I kept quite all this time I thought no one will believe me. 

Peter I support the party and will. I always supported the group during all council agenda & will continue to. 

There has been lots of pressure from the bang community to support Lutfur for the last budget but I still supported my group, and intend to continue that. 

I have been tricked by them to Be expelled so that I join there group which I have no intention to do so.

It’s very hard to explain  by email, soon as i return will talk in details 

The “kith vath” he refers to is Labour MP Keith Vaz.

It’s difficult to know where to begin with this email. I’m told that while a Tory councillor he was diligent with his surgeries and casework, and that he was also popular on the doorstep. I’m also told that his fellow Tory councillors were very supportive of him: as the lone Bengali Tory member, he had been put under serious pressure by some in the Bengali community.

It could be that that pressure has eventually told. Certainly, Lutfur’s backer Shiraj Haque, who owns the Clifton restaurant and supermarket on Westferry Road on the Isle of Dogs, is known for throwing his weight about (and much more besides).

It could also be that Maium is the latest in a long line of Tower Hamlets politicians who don’t give a hoot about the traditional party system and the policy making process; yet quite happy to pretend otherwise to get themselves elected and pocket the councillor cash.

Perhaps what we’re witnessing here is the disintegration of that system in Tower Hamlets. Lutfur and his followers might well feel they can forget tradition, that maybe they’re in the vanguard of a new grassroots movement that can go it alone. Funding? No problem, we’ve got the likes of Shiraj Haque to help us, might be the mentality. This new crew maybe a Respect Mark II.

How should the main parties respond? Well, here’s a radical thought: clean themselves up, refuse to play these games, stick to consistent and coherent policies, and retain some sort of higher moral ground by making sure those they select for office genuinely believe in what they’re saying. In fact, it is arguable that some who have defected are more principled than the ones they left behind.

The Tory party was desperate for a Bengali face on its council benches to counter the smears thrown at them from the other side of the chamber. In that desperation, the party clearly didn’t vet Maium enough. It would be fascinating to know how much he was grilled at the selection procedure.

Almost every single sentence of Maium’s July 5 email is a bare-faced lie.

Here’s a couple of them again:

…i did not defect that time or intend to defect in the future. 

The reason I kept quite all this time I thought no one will believe me. 

Peter I support the party and will. I always supported the group during all council agenda & will continue to. 

Is a liar fit to be a councillor or be rewarded with a job in the cabinet (at some stage) when he will control millions of pounds of spending?

Here’s another thought: why not force councillors who defect to stand again in a by-election? Yes, there would be costs, but perhaps the shame of billing voters for those costs might be the deterrent.

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