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Biggs kicks off his Tower Hamlets campaign for mayor in a mess’

PUBLISHED: 19:05 27 July 2010 | UPDATED: 16:16 05 October 2010

A THIRD front runner’ to be Labour’s coveted candidate for the first-ever elected mayor of London’s East End kicked off his campaign this-afternoon attacking the party for the “mess” it has landed in over a rival who has been left off the shortlist.

John Biggs said the national Labour party has lost its credibility in Tower Hamlets over the selection

By Mike Brooke

A LEADING contender to be Labour’s coveted candidate for the first-ever elected mayor of London’s East End kicked off his campaign this-afternoon attacking the party for the “mess” it has landed in over a controversial rival who has been left off the shortlist.

John Biggs, the GLA’s budget chairman and the East End’s representative on the London Assembly, told a press conference in Brick Lane that the national Labour party has lost its credibility in Tower Hamlets over the selection.

It follows a storm over former council leader Lutfur Rahman, slammed in the Channel 4 Dispatches programme over allegations of links with Islamic Forum for Europe, being excluded three times from Labour’s shortlist.

“We’ve not been allowed to oversee our own shortlist,” said Biggs. “We have got ourselves into this mess.

“Labour has lost its way in the past. We have to listen to the people.”

His campaign launch came 24 hours after Rahman’s own launch in Brick lane when he thought he was back on the shortlist, before being ousted by the party’s national executive last night.

Biggs later told the East London Advertiser: “It would have been better all round for Lutfur Rahman to be on the shortlist to let party members decide the issue themselves. I am confident about the Labour nomination and would have nothing to fear from him.”

The final selection endorsed last night by Labour’s national executive includes Tower Hamlets’ present council leader Helal Abbas and another former leader Michael Keith, along with Shiria Khatun and Rosna Mortuza.

Rank-and-file party members vote on Saturday from the shortlist for their candidate for mayor on October 21.


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