London City & East AM John Biggs asks Tower Hamlets Mayor to question his position

PUBLISHED: 10:18 12 November 2014 | UPDATED: 10:18 12 November 2014


Last week, the Government published its long-awaited report into allegations of mismanagement at Tower Hamlets Council. It is a shameful report that shows a disregard for proper, transparent, accountable decision making by the current administration. Grants were apparently sent to or increased for favoured organisations, and it looks like buildings were sold after questionable late bids, and changes to decisions, possibly at a loss to local people.

If money has been allocated to preferred organisations or areas of the borough then it follows that others have missed out. And if things have been sold without proper process then again that raises serious concerns. Mayor Rahman has always claimed that anyone questioning him was a political opponent who should be ignored. And some of his supporters said that those challenging him were doing it because they were racist. Now that independent Auditors have produced their detailed report, he cannot keep avoiding these questions. He has nowhere to hide and should think very carefully about whether his actions are compatible with remaining Mayor. And we can ask again whether he won it fairly.

Now something more pleasing - last week, together with thousands of other volunteers I spent some time selling poppies. It was impressive how many people, busily hurrying about their lives, take the time to stop and buy one, and how generous many people were. People are clearly thoughtful, and moved, particularly this year with the centenary of the start of the ‘War to end all wars’- the First World War, which was of course not the last one, by a long stretch.

What has been even more impressive is the massive crowds – Tower Hill Station had to close there were so many on some days, and well over four million in total - visiting the poppies planted in the moat at the Tower of London. There are 888,246 of them, representing one for each British military fatality in the First World War.

By the time you read this article the Remembrance Day commemorations will be behind us. But their impact continues. More from John

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