Livingstone on walk-about with Labour’s rival candidate for Tower Hamlets Mayor

KEN Livingstone, Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London in 2012, has been out in the East End accompanying the party’s rival deselected candidate for Thursday’s separate election for Mayor of Tower Hamlets.

He met former Tower Hamlets council leader Lutfur Rahman in Mile End yesterday and joined him in a walk-about to Whitechapel and along Brick Lane to Bethnal Green, meeting voters and supporters.

Critics have accused Livingstone, who earlier this month won the Labour nomination for City Hall, of breaching party rules by openly supporting a non-party candidate in a separate election.

Labour rules state that any member who campaigns for another party is automatically expelled, they point out.

Lutfur Rahman is running as independent after being dropped by Labour’s national executive over “serious allegations” concerning party membership eligibility of those voting in the rank-and-file selection on September 4 which he won by a clear margin.

Labour’s new, official candidate, current council leader Helal Abbas, has told the East London Advertiser that Livingstone sent an email to party members urging them to give him ‘first preference’ in Thursday’s election for Mayor of Tower Hamlets and give second preference to Rahman.

A London Labour spokesperson said: “Ken Livingstone is the Labour candidate for Mayor of London and supports all Labour candidates everywhere—including in Tower Hamlets where he is supporting a first preference vote for Labour’s Helal Abbas.”

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Meanwhile, eight Tower Hamlets councillors who publicly support Rahman are already facing suspension from Labour.