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Electoral Commission gives People’s Alliance of Tower Hamlets recognition as a political party for council election

PUBLISHED: 12:53 28 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:53 28 February 2018

Rabina Khan now distancing herself as Lutfur Rahman's protégé for mayor, speaking at his 2015 rally after his ban from office. Picture: Mike Brooke

Rabina Khan now distancing herself as Lutfur Rahman's protégé for mayor, speaking at his 2015 rally after his ban from office. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

A group of opposition members of Tower Hamlets Council has been formally recognised as a political party by the Electoral Commission in time to take on Labour in May’s local elections.

Rabina Khan speaking against knife crime at 2017 Whitechapel rally after Syed Islam's killing. Picture: Mike BrookeRabina Khan speaking against knife crime at 2017 Whitechapel rally after Syed Islam's killing. Picture: Mike Brooke

Its leader, Rabina Khan, who is running for Mayor, can now campaign under the official People’s Alliance of Tower Hamlets tag.

Her small group has made it onto the Great Britain register of political parties in England.

She is no stranger to Tower Hamlets’ hot politics or its rough waters from the dark days of disgraced former mayor Lutfur Rahman.

Cllr Khan was Rahman’s cabinet member for housing until his downfall in 2015, then became his protégé for mayor after he was banned from office, but was defeated by Labour’s John Biggs at the 2015 polls.

Cllr Rabina Khan speaks at 2015 election count  for Tower Hamlets mayor after losing to John Biggs. Picture: Mike BrookeCllr Rabina Khan speaks at 2015 election count for Tower Hamlets mayor after losing to John Biggs. Picture: Mike Brooke

The working mum-of-three from Shadwell has since dissociated herself from the Rahman camp, to emerge as a formidable opponent to the Labour administration in her own right.

“This Electoral Commission registration gives our coalition of councillors and grassroots activists the platform to challenge Mayor Biggs’ record,” she told the East London Advertiser.

“Never again can this borough fail Ofsted. Never again can we have bribery scandals on our planning committee. Never again can we top the league tables for rat infestations.

“Tower Hamlets needs a people’s mayor and a sense of hope and feeling protected in the uncertainty of this Brexit era.”

Rabina campaigning to stop women being evicted from Whitechapel's Hopetown hostel in 2017. Picture: Mike BrookeRabina campaigning to stop women being evicted from Whitechapel's Hopetown hostel in 2017. Picture: Mike Brooke

She is campaigning to tackle the East End’s housing crisis, its violent crime such as knife and acid attacks and to invest in education for “a generation of disenfranchised and disillusioned” young people.

Cllr Khan regularly comes across constituents’ problems in her weekly surgeries which she says compels her to “fight for social justice and the rights of the most vulnerable members of society”.

Her newly-registered party has met all the legal requirements to be recognised as a legitimate political organisation, according to the Electoral Commission.

It is now pressing its campaign to protect renters’ rights and has costed plans to set up a new housing body to convert council buildings into 500 ‘affordable’ homes to help tackle the East End’s chronic waiting list, and is also fighting council nurseries being privatised.

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