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Abul Hussain

Abul Hussain

In September 2010, I highlighted the following comments on the Facebook page of Abul “Abz” Hussain, who was at that time a member of the National Council for George Galloway’s Respect party.

Abul Hussain 2010 1Abul Hussain Facebook 2010Quite rightly, a day after my blog post, Respect expelled Abul from their party. Their statement was published here.

Within a year, however, Abul was appointed as a Justice of the Peace, ie a magistrate. He still sits at Stratford magistrates’ court. He helps decide if people are guilty or innocent, and what sentences to pass.

I’d noticed he was a magistrate earlier this year when he was becoming vocal in his support for Lutfur Rahman on Twitter. His Twitter account contained a link to his private internet marketing business, a site on which he helped to promote himself by stating he was a JP.

The Judicial Office’s Code of Conduct for judges and magistrates is strict on avoiding conflicts of interests–commercial and political.

It is also strict on the use of Twitter and social media. It advises judges and magistrates to be extremely careful.

I questioned Abul about this in a Twitter exchange last month. He denied any wrongdoing but quickly removed from his business website any reference to his role as a JP.

I’d completely forgotten he was the same Abul Hussain kicked out of Respect for anti-Semitic remarks in 2010.

Andrew Gilligan remembered.

He ran this in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph. I can only assume the Judicial Office was unaware of his past when they let him sit on judgement on others in 2011.

It would be astonishing if we were not asked to explain himself now.

Here’s the Sunday Telegraph story in full:

A man expelled from George Galloway’s Respect party for racism and anti-Semitism is serving as a magistrate in London’s most multiracial borough.

Abul “Abz” Hussain describes himself as a “follower of David Icke,” the conspiracy theorist who believes that the world is ruled by a race of giant lizards and that global leaders, including George W. Bush and the Queen, are the descendants of extraterrestrial reptiles.

On his Facebook page, Mr Hussain, a British Bangladeshi, condemns “ignorant” people who “want me to ‘integrate’ into a decadent [Western] lifestyle.”

As a sitting Justice of the Peace (JP) at Stratford magistrates’ court in Newham, east London, Mr Hussain is called upon to enforce British law, a key tenet of the society he appears to question. Sitting with two other magistrates, he passes verdicts and sentences in most criminal cases, with the power to impose up to six months’ imprisonment. More serious cases are also first heard by magistrates, who can grant or deny bail.

A resident of neighbouring Tower Hamlets, Mr Hussain is a strong supporter of Lutfur Rahman, the borough’s extremist-linked independent mayor, who was re-elected by a narrow margin in May.

During the campaign, Mr Hussain stated on Twitter that Tower Hamlets had been treated by the Labour Party as the “last outpost of the British Raj” and added: “I’m definitely not a racist but I’ll admit to voting on racial lines… this is a show of BD [Bangladeshi] strength to Labour HQ!

He claimed Bangladeshis were treated by Labour as “colonial subjects” and said the borough under the party was a “collection of bantustans”, artificial states created by the apartheid regime in South Africa to segregate black people. A recent entry on his Facebook page shows a man hitting a woman with a mallet.

As a member of the national council of George Galloway’s Respect Party, a council candidate and joint general secretary of the local party, Mr Hussain took a major role in Mr Rahman’s previous election campaign in 2010, organising canvassers and meetings for Mr Rahman, who was removed from Labour after The Sunday Telegraph exposed his links to an extremist Islamist group, the Islamic Forum of Europe.

Respect did not run a candidate of its own and supported Mr Rahman. Mr Hussain also appears to have been one of Mr Rahman’s nominators for the mayoralty.

However, Mr Hussain was expelled by Respect two weeks before polling day after posting in a Facebook exchange: “You know the world’s coming to an end when a Jew accuses you of being of his kind… I should have put u on that convoy to Gaza, could have traded the Jew with the Israelis to let the aid through.”

Despite Mr Hussain’s expulsion, he was appointed a magistrate in September 2011.

A spokesman for the Judicial Office confirmed that Mr Hussain was a serving JP and said: “Any allegations about a magistrate’s conduct would, in the first instance, be investigated by their local advisory committee. If they felt there was evidence of misconduct it would be referred to the Judicial Investigations and Conduct Office (JCIO).

“Should the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice then find that a magistrate has brought the judiciary into disrepute, a number of sanctions are available including removal from office.”

Mr Hussain did not respond when contacted.

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During my three years at the East London Advertiser, I spent a fair amount of time with George Galloway’s aides in the Respect party.

I’m fairly confident in saying that had the PwC report been written about the Labour administration in Tower Hamlets back then, they’d have milked it for all its worth.

They were as scathing about the then council leader in 2008, Lutfur Rahman, as they were about his predecessors, Denise Jones and Michael Keith. In particular, they disliked what they believed to be the whiff of cronyism…in both the awarding of grants and also the appointment of useful mates to political positions.

In fact, Respect’s decision to organise successful petition that heralded the directly elected mayoral system in 2009/10 was an attempt to end such a culture, they argued.

So it’ll be interesting to see if Galloway, or Glyn Robbins, the former chair of Tower Hamlets Respect, or John Rees, a founding father of the party, refer to any of this when they address the following rally the Water Lily centre in Mile End tomorrow tonight:

george galloway, lutfur rahman

Lutfur has sent this email to his Tower Hamlets first supporters:

Dear supporter,

You’ll probably have heard by now that Secretary of State Eric Pickles has ordered officials in to undermine local democracy in Tower Hamlets, and it’s local residents that are paying for it (sic). You also may have heard that despite Pickles’ decision to send in the attack dogs, the report he ordered found no fraud or corruption in Tower Hamlets. 

He’s seized on any flimsy excuse he can find to shut down the 37,395 voices that voted for Mayor Lutfur Rahman and for a council that stands up to the cuts and invests in education, affordable homes and our future. 
 
This is Pickles versus the people. And it’s up to all of us to stand up to him. 
 
Here’s some simple things you can do
 
– Sign the petition to stop the witch-hunt of Lutfur
 
– Join me at a rally with Ken Livingstone and other national leaders at the Waterlily, 69 Mile End Road on Weds 12th November at 6pm to discuss how we can stand up for democracy. (link to event page)
 
– Tweet and facebook your own opinions about all this under the hashtags #towerhamlets and #respectourvotes
 
– Get in touch with any ideas you have
 
Thank you so much for your help. We haven’t got big banks or corporate newspapers on our side, so every little thing you do really does count.
 
In solidarity, 
 
Tower Hamlets First

The petition they refer to is here, and at the time of writing has 675 votes.

Note its name: ‘Respect our democracy and treat councils equally!’ And note the Twitter hashtag supporters are being urged to use: #respectourvotes.

The word ‘respect’ is popping up a lot.

So of course Galloway won’t lash out at Lutfur for his policy and process failures: they’re merely “flimsy excuses”.

Lutfur is now a convenient “Pickles versus the People” general election tool. Convenient for Lutfur, too, of course: posing the bigger question acts as a smokescreen for the criticisms.

But that’s politics.

There’s even some talk among his supporters that Lutfur may call a mayoral by-election to re-establish his authority. I’m not convinced he would press that nuclear button and in any case, I’m not sure when he would press it.

The Election Court hearing is due to start in mid-late January and it could last until March. Even then, the verdict may be reserved for some weeks.

If he emerges from that victorious, I’m not sure why he’d want or need to hold a by-election (although he could emerge victorious but tainted and damaged).

Who knows what his priorities are.

Certainly, he didn’t prioritise Remembrance Sunday again this year.

He was again a no-show at the wreath-laying ceremony at Tower Hill on Sunday, when there were huge crowds in the area observing the ceramic poppy display in the Tower of London moat across the road.

Lutfur’s reserved seat next to the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of London, Commander John Ludgate, remained empty.

I asked the council’s press office for an explanation and this was their reply:

The Mayor was regrettably unable to attend the Merchant Navy Memorial Service on Sunday due to a long-standing commitment to attend an (sic) young people’s education awards ceremony outside London. In his absence the Mayor asked Mickey Ambrose, former footballer and Duke of Edinburgh Awards ambassador to represent him and lay a wreath on his behalf.

‪Mr Ambrose said: “I was honoured to be a part of such a moving service and pay my respects to the courageous men and women who have served our country.”

‪The Mayor attended a Remembrance Service on Friday at City Hall with other Mayors and Council leaders, and is looking forward to the Armistice Day event on Tuesday at the Town Hall. The Mayor will also host a reception for war veterans after the event.

Mickey Ambrose stood and lost as a Tower Hamlets First candidate in Bow East in May. Quite why Lutfur asked him to deputise and not any of his elected councillors is a mystery.

I also asked the council what this longstanding awards ceremony commitment was, when it actually took place and where it was held.

They’ve declined to reply.

Anybody know?

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With the fluid movements between the various parties over the years, Tower Hamlets politics has always been a bit of an incestuous affair, but the Labour’s new slate of 45 candidates for the May 2014 council elections has taken it to a new level.

We seem to have couples, mums and sons and brothers at war everywhere. It’s like Dallas and Dynasty combined. John Biggs, the Labour puppet-master, has become JR.

The candidates were announced last night. As mentioned before, Judith Gardner has stepped down; Bill Turner has moved to Barking and Dagenham where he’s secured a candidacy for that council; Kosru Uddin and Ahmed Omer are departing; Mizan Chowdhury has been axed, as has Anwar Khan, who is in dispute with the council over an alleged fracas with a parking attendant…something he denies.

So there are many fresh and young faces, which in part reflects a determination to bring in a new generation. Robbie Scott will be interesting to watch: I don’t think he’ll shy away from confrontation.

And I’m told Amina Ali, a BBC journalist selected in Bow East, might well be a star of the future. If she’s elected of course.

Standing with her in Bow East are Cllr Marc Francis and his wife Rachel Blake.

Anwar Khan’s place in Bow West is taken by his sister-in-law, Asma Begum, who is married to Anwar’s brother, Tarik Khan, who is a lovely placid chap.

Raju Rahman, who has been selected in the new ward of Island Gardens, is also said to be a bright rising star; he’s the son of Cllr Zenith Rahman, who is married to ex-Councillor Helal Rahman.

Cllr Carlo Gibbs and Cllr Amy Whitelock Gibbs were married earlier this year.

Cllr Rachael Saunders is married to Tower Hamlets Labour chair Chris Weavers, while Cllr David Edgar is married to Lib Dem Cllr Stephanie Eaton.

It’s not just Labour, of course. Among Lutfur’s camp, Cllr Aminur Khan is married to Cllr Rabina Khan, while Cllr Rania Khan is the daughter of Cllr Lutfa Begum.

The latter two were in Respect, as was ex-Cllr Mamun Rashid, who has been selected for Labour to stand in Shadwell, where he has a big following. (Rashid and Lutfur, by the way, have past links…I was once handed a tape recording transcript of Lutfur, when he was fighting to become the Labour parliamentary candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow in 2007, calling on Allah to bless Mamun and another Respect colleague for helping him fight the eventual victor, Rushanara Ali. I must dig it out).

If you want to see all the pictures of Labour’s candidates see here, here and here.

I’ll try to find time to do some substantial analysis of the slate; if anyone has any inside info, do please email me.

In the meantime, here’s a list (Y/N signifies sitting councillor or not).

 

Amy Whitelock Gibbs  Bethnal Green Y Married to
Carlo Gibbs
Abdirashid Gulaid  Bethnal Green N
Sirajul Islam  Bethnal Green Y
David Chesterton  Blackwall &
Cubitt Town
N
Iqbal Hossain  Blackwall &
Cubitt Town
N
Candida Ronald  Blackwall &
Cubitt Town
N
Rachel Blake  Bow East N Married
to Marc Francis
Marc Francis  Bow East Y Married
to Rachel Blake
Amina Ali  Bow
East
N
Asma Begum  Bow
West
N Brother-in-law
of Cllr Anwar Khan/Married to Tarik Khan
Joshua Peck  Bow
West
Y
Zenith Rahman  Bromley North Y Mother
of Raju Rahman
Khales Uddin Ahmed  Bromley
North
Y
Danny Hassell  Bromley South N
Helal Uddin  Bromley South Y
Shahaveer Hussain  Canary Wharf N
Debbie Simone  Canary Wharf N
Raju Rahman  Island Gardens N Son
of Zenith Rahman
Andy Cregan  Island Gardens N
Rajib Ahmed  Lansbury Y
Shiria Khatun  Lansbury Y
Dave Smith  Lansbury N
Catherine Overton  Limehouse N
Rachael Saunders  Mile End Y  Married to TH Labour chair Chris Weavers
David Edgar  Mile
End
Y Married
to Stepanie Eaton
Motin Uz-Zaman  Mile End Y
Kahar Chowdhury  Poplar N
Mohammed Mamun Rashid  Shadwell N Was
‘married’ to George Galloway
Farhana Zaman  Shadwell N
Helal Uddin Abbas  Spitalfields &
Banglatown
Y
Tarik Khan  Spitalfields &
Banglatown
N Brother
of Cllr Anwar Khan/Married to Asma Begum
Mohammed Ayas Miah  St. Dunstan’s N
Abdal Ullah  St.
Dunstan’s
Y
Denise Jones  St. Katharine’s
& Wapping
Y
Robbie Scott  St. Katharine’s
& Wapping
N
Clare Harrisson  St. Peter’s N
Sanu Miah  St. Peter’s N
Carlo Gibbs  St.
Peter’s
Y Married
to Amy Whitelock
Victoria Obaze  Stepney Green N
Sabina Akhtar  Stepney
Green
N
Abdul Mukit  Weavers Y
John Pierce  Weavers Y
Faruque Ahmed  Whitechapel N
Jamalur Rahman  Whitechapel N
Robert Robinson  Whitechapel N

 

 

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