Rabina Khan takes on fight for sacked mayor Rahman for Tower Hamlets re-run election
PUBLISHED: 00:16 01 May 2015 | UPDATED: 11:40 01 May 2015
Sacked Mayor Lutfur Rahman is considering a legal challenge to last week’s High Court judgement which pronounced him guilty of election fraud, malpractice and polling station intimidation in last year’s Tower Hamlets local elections which got him re-elected.
He challenged the Establishment at a rally in the East End tonight when he announced that Rabina Khan, his cabinet member for housing and regeneration, would take on the fight as candidate for mayor when the 2014 election made void by Judge Richard Mawrie is re-run on June 11.
Hundreds of supporters packed Mile End’s Waterlily conference centre to hear him rally for support for his Tower Hamlets First group.
“I am no longer a mayor and may have fallen—but I am not broken!” he told his cheering supporters.
“I am exploring the possibility of a legal challenge to the High Court judgement.”
He went on to attack the government he accused of conspiracy and in particular Community Secretary Eric Pickles who this week sent more commissioners into the Town Hall to take over its £1.2 billion budget.
“The government has spent seven long years since I’ve been Council Leader doing everything they can do to discredit me,” he claimed.
“They closed ranks and invented scandals and smear stories until they created a national story out of thin air.
“The Establishment tried to cover up their failures and laid corruption at my door.
The judgement of Eric Pickles is a sign of their weakness. But they can no longer intimidate people into voting for them.”
But the night belonged to his protégé Rabina Khan, who was first elected a Labour councillor in 2010 for Shadwell scraping home with just three votes majority.
She was one of the first to defect a year later to Rahman’s independent group and was given the housing and regeneration portfolio.
She joined Rahman on the platform when he suddenly revealed she was his candidate for Mayor.
Rabina told the packed hall: “I wish I wasn’t here, on the back of this man’s achievements. But I am here—this man gave me the policy and the faith to do it as a woman.
“I am proud to be a Muslim and a Bangladeshi and proud to be British.
“You want Question Time. You will get it with me. I am not afraid to take that on at the council.
“It’s in your hands. The mayoralty is not mine for taking—it is yours for giving.”
She was mobbed leaving the stage and had to be escorted through the crowd by ‘minders’ as she left the rally.
Rabina was the rising star tonight, who now takes on the mantle of the Tower Hamlets First caucus as it launches its campaign to try and win the June 11 re-run election for mayor.
[Pictures: Mike Brooke]