Eric Pickles may send ‘inspector’ to Tower Hamlets after BBC Panorama

Mayor Lutfur Rahman

Mayor Lutfur Rahman - Credit: Archant

A government inspector could be sent to investigate Tower Hamlets Council following tonight’s episode of BBC Panorama, a government minister has said.

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, told the BBC he would consider intervening in Tower Hamlets if the allegations in the programme stands up.

Tonight’s BBC Panorama will take a critical look at Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s time in office since his election in 2010.

The Mayor has branded the programme “racist and Islamophobic” after being leaked information about it from a junior staffer at the BBC, including details of Panorama’s confidential sources.

Mr Pickles said: “Panorama has unearthed some very serious allegations that demand an answer.

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“I think the allegations or questions that Panorama raise are of a completely different magnitude to worries and concerns that I have with other councils.”

Mr Pickles said he would ask his officers to review the contents of the programme.

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He added: “If I feel the allegations that you made are substantial and serious, I will actively consider intervening.

“I have powers to put in an inspector to look at the way that the council’s been run.”

Mr Pickles has previously likened East End Life, the tax-payer funded council paper delivered free to 90,000 homes, to the Soviet Union’s propaganda paper “Pravda”, and ordered that should no longer be published.

BBC Panorama: The Mayor and Your Money will air tonight on BBC One at 8.30.

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