Rahman’s ‘Tower Hamlets First’ is removed from Electoral Commission’s party register

Lutfur Rahman

Lutfur Rahman - Credit: Archant

Lufur Rahman’s controversial ‘Tower Hamlets First’ Town Hall caucus has been removed from the Electoral Commission’s official register of political parties.

Ex-Mayor Lutfur Rahman... planning judicial review

Ex-Mayor Lutfur Rahman... planning judicial review - Credit: Archant

The action was taken today—less than a week after a High Court judge stripped him of his office as Mayor and banned him till 2021 for election malpractice during his re-election campaign 12 months ago.

It also comes on the day Communities Secretary Eric Pickles sent another two commissioners this-afternoon to strengthen his grip on the Town Hall, over allegations of financial mismanagement of public coffers.

The deregistering of his group follows the judge’s criticism that it has no proper party structure, that candidates were personally picked by him and no right of appeal if rejected or sacked.

Rahman refutes the findings and says in a statement on his website: “Tower Hamlets First councillors reject the election court’s claims that we are nothing more than a ‘one man band.’

“We support Lutfur Rahman as a party because he has led in delivering record numbers of social and affordable homes, investing in our young people with maintenance allowances and university grants and standing up to Tory and Labour austerity.”

Rahman is hitting back with a rally tomorrow “to put the record straight” and start moves for a judicial review.

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The rally at the Waterlily conference centre in Mile End is to boost his counter petition on whether the judge considered all the evidence and been fair over the court proceedings, which has already attracted nearly 6,000 signatures.

He is claiming the integrity of the court system was “marred by the bias, slurs and factual inaccuracies in the election judgment”.

His group further backs his former “right hand man” in his cabinet, Alibor Choudhury, who has also been disqualified from office after the judge labeled him the “hatchet man” doing his “dirty work” in the 2014 election which has been declared void.

Cllr Oli Rahman (no relation) has stepped in as acting mayor until the election is re-run on June 11. But it is only a “ticking over” exercise with Pickles’ four commissioners now firmly holding the council’s purse strings.

Tower Hamlets First plans to select a candidate for the Stepney Green Ward made vacant by Choudhury’s departure. The by-election is on the same day.

Meanwhile, speakers addressing tomorrow night’s rally at 6pm come from trade unions such as Unite and protest groups including Unite Against Fascism, Stop the War Coalition and former Respect party members.

But absent from the published list of speakers were George Galloway and ex-London mayor Ken Livingstone, who both appeared at Rahman’s previous rally at the Waterlily on the eve of the High Court election trial in February.