Conservative councillor for Blackwall & Cubitt Town Peter Golds talks about Tower Hamlet’s Mayor’s appearance on Channel 4’s Dispatches


- Credit: Archant

Do as I say, not as I do is the warning that the disinfectant of sunlight can be dangerous to any politician, even one such as Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman.

In his latest appearance on Channel 4’s Dispatches on June 17, Mayor Rahman is shown putting his infamous publicly-funded limo into use.

Dry cleaning is delivered to his home and he uses the car to travel from his home to the East London Mosque, which can be walked in two minutes, 39 seconds.

However, what was damning and will have enraged viewers, was the driver parking in a bus lane and on yellow lines. Despite the stories about “back-to-back meetings”, it sat outside a restaurant for long periods.

Needless to say when the item was introduced the reporter stood in front of one of the publicity posters that has a picture of our much-driven mayor.

If the political leader of a local authority, which has responsibility for parking enforcement, can ignore the rules for which he is responsible, then I suspect that there will be some very interesting appeals against Tower Hamlets parking tickets in the near future.

Even worse than this are the clumsy attempts by Tower Hamlets Council to stifle public interest in genuine public interest requests.

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Recently I obtained details of thousands of pounds of claims for taxi fares by various members of the Cabinet (an interesting title because they do not actually have any power, all of this being reserved by the mayor).

The most recent information for Cllr Rabina Khan was withdrawn and the destinations concealed on the grounds of “health and safety”. Sadly for Cllr Khan, the actual information was already in the public domain.

Cllr Ohid Ahmed billed £140 for a return taxi fare between Euston Road and the Town Hall, a journey that takes under half an hour by the Tube.

Amazingly, when this was revealed, instead of admitting that this might be wrong, Cllr Ahmed first made farcical legal threats.

When I officially complained, I received a three- page justification from a council officer, marked private and confidential.

Such information is of public interest. The public has a right to know what public figures are claiming and what those claims are for – just as they have a right to know when a political leader parks a publicly-funded car in a bus lane.