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John Biggs marks his first 100 days as Tower Hamlets’ new mayor

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 October 2015

Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs

Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs

Archant

John Biggs has had his feet under the table in the Mayor’s Office now for more than 100 days...

He stormed home to win the re-run election in London’s East End for Tower Hamlets Mayor on June 11, after deposed Lutfur Rahman was banned from office two months before.

John Biggs (right) at UK Citizens hustings in 2014.. the election he lost to Lutfur RahmanJohn Biggs (right) at UK Citizens hustings in 2014.. the election he lost to Lutfur Rahman

John had already done battle with Lutfur last year and lost—in the 2014 election later turned over by the High Court.

But after June 11, he was taking over from a five-year administration wracked with secrecy and claims of dubious council land deals and public funds dished out to dodgy organisations.

What Mayor Biggs needs to do now is get back public confidence in Britain’s once “rotten borough” and see off the commissioners sent in by Whitehall to go through the Town Hall books.

Biggs piles up the leaflets ready to fight the 2015 poll to be mayorBiggs piles up the leaflets ready to fight the 2015 poll to be mayor

“Last week’s ‘anti-gentrification’ marches and the apparent drop in child poverty show the East End is going through profound changes,” he says.

“I don’t condone the violent response to these changes, but I am concerned that the impact of welfare cuts and rising house prices undermine our efforts to help the most vulnerable.

“It could be that the child poverty reduction is due to low-pay families no longer being able to afford to live in the East End.

John Biggs at local Labour HQ as campaign to be mayor gets under wayJohn Biggs at local Labour HQ as campaign to be mayor gets under way

“So we need a new approach to h when they don’t want toousing that doesn’t force people who have lived here for generations to have to move out.”

John Biggs isn’t new to running the Town Hall and pulling the purse-strings.

He was council leader in the 1990s, before his election to the London Assembly in 2000 where he still rules as its budget chairman, stepping down at next May’s City Hall elections.

Mayor Biggs cuts ribbon of new Human Appeal charity shop, July 2015Mayor Biggs cuts ribbon of new Human Appeal charity shop, July 2015

Now Tower Hamlets has finally appointed a new chief executive during his first 100 days as the Big Man at the Town Hall, after the previous mayor was in deadlock with the council over who should take the post.

John has also moved into a smaller office and dropped the swanky chauffeur-driven limmo. He walks to the office from his east London family home anyway.

The 100 days in office so far have seen the legal dispute with Rich Mix resolved and confirmation that Henry Moore’s ‘Old Flo’ sculpture now tucked away in a Yorkshire park is being returned.

Even before becoming mayor... John Biggs visits Bow School construction siteEven before becoming mayor... John Biggs visits Bow School construction site

He has also set up a ‘transparency’ commission for more accountable local government.

It’s a breath of transparent fresh air after the years of executive Town Hall secrecy.

Watch this space in the next 100 days.

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