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Respect back Rahman

11:59 24 September 2010

RESPECT has given its full backing to Cllr Lutfur Rahman in his bid as an independent mayoral candidate.

RESPECT has this morning given its full backing to Cllr Lutfur Rahman in his bid as an independent mayoral candidate.

The move puts to bed rumours Respect ex-MP George Galloway would be putting himself forward as a candidate in the controversial mayoral race.

The party had already given its wholehearted support to Cllr Rahman when he was announced as Labour candidate.

That support was thrown into doubt after Cllr Rahman was dramatically dropped from the Labour ballot amid allegations “concerning both the eligibility of participating voters and the conduct of Lutfur Rahman.”

The Labour National Executive Committee (NEC) is investigating.

Tower Hamlets Council leader Helal Abbas has now been named Labour candidate.

The decision was condemned by Respect, which claimed Rahman had been the victim of a “witch-hunt” and “anti-Muslim racism.”

Respect issued the statement: “Labour’s NEC has decided to give credence to completely unsubstantiated allegations against Cllr Rahman without even interviewing him or allowing him to respond to the allegations. This is a capitulation to the baying of the right wing press and the machinations of a small and unrepresentative group inside Tower Hamlets Labour which all right thinking people should repudiate.

“Having chosen to deselect Cllr Rahman, even more bizarrely, the NEC then chose not to offer the candidacy to the second place candidate, London Assembly member John Biggs, but rather to Cllr Helal Abbas Uddin who received less than one third of the popular vote received by Cllr Rahman and less than one sixth of the total votes cast by Tower Hamlets Labour Party members. Cllr Abbas has no credibility therefore to be Labour’s candidate either with the Tower Hamlets Labour Party membership or with the wider electorate.

“Cllr Rahman on the other hand has a fine track record as leader of the council and has declared that he wishes to lead the fight against the appalling Con-Dem cuts on the basis of a broad coalition involving the trade unions and community groups across the borough. We strongly believe he can win the mayoralty on this basis and we will do all we can to help bring about his victory.”

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