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Adam Barnett, Reporter
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
EXCLUSIVE: A media advisor to the mayor of Tower Hamlets will move to New York next year to write speeches for United Nations general secretary Ban Ki-Moon.
Mark Seddon told the Advertiser that working as Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s communications adviser was “very good training” for his new job at the United Nations.
Mr Seddon, who has been the mayor’s speechwriter for two years, received £51,500 of public money in the last financial year at a rate of £500 a day. His fee was revealed in June after a Freedom of Information request by the Conservative group, and was paid from the budget for the mayor’s office and advisers.
Mr Seddon said he started working part-time for the mayor “because I think he’s doing a good job and was treated quite badly by the Labour party.”
He said politicians in Tower Hamlets need to stop “bickering” and should look to Nelson Mandela’s idea of Truth and Reconciliation to “show the way”.
He said: “It’s high time that the political leaders of this borough stop bickering and really pull things together.
“The level of political discourse and some of the venom is very sad, and there needs to be more leadership from the local MPs.”
Mr Seddon was editor of Tribune magazine from 1992 to 2005, and then worked for Al-Jazeera in the United States as its UN correspondent. In an article he wrote in 2011, Mr Seddon called Ban Ki-Moon “the cerebral and unflappable secretary general of the UN”.
He wrote: “In a world craving real moral leadership, honesty and integrity, Ban Ki-moon stands out. ...
“I shall be watching and listening as Ban Ki-moon speaks to the world and hope that those who really have the power to make a difference take note of every word he says.”