I’ve written before about the strange parallels between the 2010-15 Clown Period of Tower Hamlets politics and the current circus of Corbyn’s Labour party (threats of legal actions, Respect and Momentum, infiltration, intimidation, Ken Livingstone, Jon Lansman etc etc…
So it wasn’t particularly surprising that last night, as Labour’s NEC squabbled over their party’s rule book and who could stand for leader, a similar meeting was being held at the Teviot Centre in Poplar by the collection of councillors currently calling themselves Tower Hamlets Independent Group, or THING.
This meeting, held to discuss among other things who would be THING’s mayoral candidate for 2018, was not only attended by Lutfur Rahman, but he presided over it as well.
And, quelle surprise, it ended in bitterness – and allegations of physical intimidation.
By way of background, Lutfur has apparently for the past couple of months been anointing that seesaw of a councillor, Ohid Ahmed (one day’s he’s a defecting independent, the next he’s back with THING), as his chosen candidate for 2018.
Quite why he’s chosen Ohid is anyone’s guess. It’s mysterious. Why not stick with Rabina Khan, who polled 27,000 votes in last year’s mayoral election and who could quite easily broaden her support base? Perhaps he’s worried if Rabina won in 2018, he’d never get back in after his ban expires in time for 2022. Rabina was not of course Lutfur’s first choice for mayoral candidate after he was kicked out of office last year. He had to be persuaded to back her. He originally wanted a man.
So at the meeting last night, there was a disagreement about the process to choose the official candidate.
The disagreement, according to those there, turned into a full blown shouting match with what some felt was an air of physical intimidation.
So much so that group leader Oli Rahman, Aminur Khan, his wife Rabina and Shah Alam have filed an official complaint to their own party about Mr Selfie himself, the not-always-so-mild mannered Mahbub Alam.
The complaint was sent to THING’s chair, Abdul Asad, who has apparently since resigned for personal reasons.
Here it is:
Cllr Abdul Asad
Chair of TH IG
Date: 13 July 2016
We are writing to you as the Chair of the THI group to make an official complaint regarding the verbal, physical behaviour and conduct of Cllr Mahbub Alam at the group meeting took place on 12 July 2016.
We are shocked and saddened how Cllr Alam behaved, getting up from his chair threatening leader of the group Cllr Oliur Rahman, Cllr Shah Alam and Cllr Aminur Khan. We believe, his behaviour was a breach of council’s code of conduct and our group Constitution. We expected him to be reprimanded, however to our disappointment that did not take place.
His behaviour was unacceptable and we seek for you to take appropriate action. Cllr Mahbub Alam stood up from his chair and threatened firstly Cllr Rahman, then Cllr Shah Alam and Cllr Aminur Khan, then Cllr Mahbub Alom tried to attack Cllr Khan physically, which was totally unacceptable.
We are now asking you as group chair to take appropriate action and if no action is taken then we will have no alternative but to complaint to councils monitoring officer.
We, look forward to your reply.
Cllr Aminur Khan
Cllr Oliur Rahman
Cllr Rabina Khan
Cllr Shah Alam
Throughout much of this, sources tell me, Lutfur sat there allowing the fighting to continue before finally intervening.
I suspect the upshot of it all will be another split in THING, with the group of four forming their own group.
If you thought Lutfur was gone for good, think again. It’s amazing how bankruptcy can focus the mind.