‘Trump free zone’ declared by Tower Hamlets Council in call to Downing Street to withdraw invitation
PUBLISHED: 08:40 18 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:42 23 January 2018
The American president has been slapped with a self-declared “Trump-free zone” around London’s East End after Tower Hamlets Council voting to tell him he’s not welcome.
The Labour mayor adopted independent councillor Ohid Ahmed’s motion at the full council meeting to declare the borough “closed” to Donald Trump.
Members came together across the political spectrum in a rare show of unity to “ban” the president, declaring that he wasn’t welcome in the multi-ethnic East End.
Cllr Ahmed, who is running for mayor in May’s local election, was over the moon as council members from both Labour and opposition groups backed his proposal.
“I hope my campaign has contributed in conveying a clear message to President Trump,” he said.
"If Donald Trump were to come down and have a curry in Brick Lane, what could we do—close our air space?"
“But the fact remains that Downing Street and the White House are adamant that the invitation has been accepted and a date is still to be finalised.
“That’s why it’s important the council declares ‘Tower Hamlets a ‘Trump-free zone’—just like Chicago.”
And indeed, just like neighbouring Greenwich where the Labour administration has also declared a similar ‘zone’ which, ironically, now links both sides of the Thames, directly under the flight path to Heathrow should President Trump fly in.
It also means both ends of the Greenwich foot tunnel between the Isle of Dogs and the Cutty Sark, administered jointly by the two local authorities, are within the ‘exclusion’ zone.
But the Isle of Dogs wasn’t sure the council should waste time debating Trump, or at least one of its Tory Opposition members Andrew Wood, who told the council: “We would much rather debate more urgent issues we should be spending the next half-hour, like acid attacks, fire safety, housing and the decline in school standards.
“If Donald Trump were to come down and have a curry in Brick Lane, what could we do? Close our air space?”
The Tory group declared the debate “a farce”. Cllr Wood added: “I don’t like Trump—he’s a bit of a ‘man’ child’, but that doesn’t mean we should waste 30 precious minutes debating this idiot.”
The other councillors weren’t having it and the debate thundered on, while the Tory group didn’t object when it came to the vote.
Labour mayor John Biggs condemned President Trump who he said “doesn’t applaud diversity, who doesn’t respect the culture of others and doesn’t respect women”.
The mayor added: “He is failing in his leadership and we should not welcome him here. We must be vigorous in our intolerance of his intolerance.”
The council is now to ask Downing Street to “withdraw the president’s invitation urgently”.
The self-declared ‘Trump-free zone’ stretches from Victoria Park in the north to the Thames and the Greenwich foot tunnel in the south, from and including the Tower of London in the west stretching eastward to Bow Creek and the River Lea.
It also includes Canary Wharf and the Brick Lane ‘curry mile’—but then, as Cllr Wood points out, it’s not enforceable.