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Posts Tagged ‘homophobia tower hamlets’

The Tower Hamlets Labour party yesterday issued the following statement about the series of posters that have appeared in Bow smearing ex-Lib Dem councillor and pro-Lutfur community activist Nigel McCollum.

Labour condemn smears against former councillor Nigel McCollum

Responding to reports of a poster smear campaign against former Tower Hamlets councillor Nigel McCollum Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Sirajul Islam, said:

“I totally condemn these utterly atrocious attempts to smear a hard-working and respected former councillor. Whilst we may have our political differences with Nigel nobody should ever be subjected to this kind of abuse and we hope that those responsible will be swiftly bought to justice.

“To baselessly imply without any reason or cause that this is related to any exchange of opinions in the Council chamber does neither them, nor Nigel, justice. Now is not a time for politics, it is about finding those responsible and ensuring they face the consequences of their actions.”

Labour’s Candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said:

These attacks on Nigel McCollum are disgusting and unacceptable. I and the Labour Party stand firmly in support of him and against such cowardly homophobic behaviour. Anybody found to be behind these attacks should face the full force of the law.

“I and the Labour Party defend absolutely his right to challenge any public spending decisions under whatever administration. However, anybody attending the Council meeting will be aware that Labour members clarified that his claims were in our view ill-informed and misleading and were a rather clumsy political attack by one of the Mayor’s supporters.

“To link our disagreement with this attack against him is a slur. One of the reasons I am standing for Mayor is to challenge the nasty tendencies that often lurk in East End politics. This sort of conduct has no place in civilised society.”

Here’s a reminder of what Mayor Lutfur Rahman said yesterday:

“He [Nigel] had raised what he believes to have been the scandalous role of some local Labour councillors in wasting £1.6 million on developments in the Roman Road the previous evening at a meeting of the full council.

Both Lib Dem leader, Councillor Stephanie Eaton and I are urging the police to mount a full and thorough investigation. Both Stephanie and I wish to condemn what Nigel and ourselves believe to be a serious homophobic attack, and one that may well be politically charged. I have spoken to Nigel and offered him both our sympathy and our full support.”

And a reminder of what Lib Dem councillor Stephanie Eaton said:

Nigel and I believe this to be a serious homophobic attack, and one that is aimed at stopping him from continuing his political activities. To post anonymous homophobic attacks about a resident and former councillor simply because he has raised legitimate questions about public spending is cowardly and unacceptable.

I’ve no idea what evidence they have to link the attack to Labour but as responsible leaders, I’m sure they will provide it to detectives.

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Nigel McCollumTower Hamlets police have launched an investigation into a homophobic smear campaign against former Lib Dem councillor Nigel McCollum.

Posters appeared in bus shelters near his home in the Old Ford Road area of Bow late on Wednesday night, Thursday morning and again today. In total, about 10 have been found.

The posters, which include a recently taken photograph at him at an event in Bow attended by the Duchess of Gloucester, label him a ‘paedophile’. They gave his address and phone numbers.

They also went into more details which I’m not publishing. All are false.

He is openly gay and delivered a petition on behalf of other residents in Bow at Wednesday’s council meeting, which also heard a series of people and youngsters condemning homophobia in the borough.

Although a former Lib Dem, as regular readers of this blog will know, he is now a supporter and good friend of Mayor Lutfur Rahman.

The mayor has just posted comments about the incident on his blog today. That he failed to condemn the homophobic rants against Tory Peter Golds at previous council meetings in no way detracts from the gravity of his words.

Here’s what Lutfur says:

I have been appalled to learn of the quite shocking and potentially criminal actions that have directly followed the public intervention of one of our borough’s prominent and respected residents, former Lib Dem councillor, Nigel McCollum, in the full council meeting in the Town Hall on Wednesday night.

I understand the police have launched an immediate investigation in to who is behind the posting of deeply offensive leaflets, picturing Nigel McCollum, and claiming that he is a ‘paedophile’. These posters have been posted in and around public areas near to where Nigel lives.

Fortunately, Nigel was alerted by concerned neighbours and friends upon waking on Thursday morning.

He had raised what he believes to have been the scandalous role of some local Labour councillors in wasting £1.6 million on developments in the Roman Road the previous evening at a meeting of the full council.

Both Lib Dem leader, Councillor Stephanie Eaton and I are urging the police to mount a full and thorough investigation. Both Stephanie and I wish to condemn what Nigel and ourselves believe to be a serious homophobic attack, and one that may well be politically charged. I have spoken to Nigel and offered him both our sympathy and our full support.

There can be no place for homophobia and hate in Tower Hamlets. Those who attempt to promulgate it must know that there will be consequences to their actions.

And here’s what Lib Dem councillor Stephanie Eaton says in the press release she’s just issued:

Former Liberal Democrat Councillor Nigel McCollum has been the subject of anonymous smears and lies following his presentation of a petition to full council on Wednesday night. On Thursday morning, a number of posters were found in Bow making untrue and homophobic accusations against Mr McCollum. The police have launched an immediate investigation in to the production of the posters, which included a recent photograph of Nigel McCollum and his contact details. The posters were posted in public areas near to where Mr McCollum lives.

Liberal Democrat Councillor, Dr Stephanie Eaton said: “I am appalled to learn of the shocking and potentially criminal actions that have directly followed the public intervention of one of our borough’s respected residents, Nigel McCollum, in the full council meeting in the Town Hall on Wednesday night. Nigel McCollum had raised what he believes to have been the scandalous role of some local Labour councillors in wasting £1.6 million on developments in the Roman Road the previous evening at a meeting of the full council.

Nigel and I believe this to be a serious homophobic attack, and one that is aimed at stopping him from continuing his political activities. To post anonymous homophobic attacks about a resident and former councillor simply because he has raised legitimate questions about public spending is cowardly and unacceptable. It is an attack on all people involved in local politics, and one which has the potential to deter LGBT people from public service.

There can be no place for homophobia in Tower Hamlets and in Tower Hamlets politics.”  

Notes for Editors

Nigel McCollum was a Tower Hamlets Councillor from 2002-2006 representing the ward of Bow East. He is a gay man in a long term relationship with his partner.

In 2005/2006 Nigel McCollum was subjected to anonymous hate mail making similar homophobic accusations. At the same time anonymous defamatory statements were also circulated to the Police, media and local politicians. The intimidation and harassment was a key reason in Nigel’s decision not to stand for re-election in 2006. As soon as this decision was announced, the harassment stopped.

Whether it was politically motivated or just some evil idiot with another grudge should be easy to prove. Plenty of CCTV in the area in question.

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