Tower Hamlets Respect: “Why we want Rahman”

THE chairman of Tower Hamlets Respect has today spoken of the group’s ‘difficult decision’ to back Labour’s Lutfur Rahman and not stand its own mayoral candidate.

Respect announced this morning that a decision had been made not to put a candidate up for election as Tower Hamlets’ first executive mayor and that it would encourage its supporters to vote for Mr Rahman.

Ms Swords said: “We campaigned very hard for the referendum that Labour wanted to deny the people of Tower Hamlets and we were delighted when the people voted by a large majority for a directly elected mayor.

“This was never about setting something up that Respect could exploit, contrary to the smears put about by some in the Labour Party and others.

“It was about establishing a democratic and accountable system of governance in Tower Hamlets, unlike what has gone on here for so many years.

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“As an electoral party, the members always want to contest elections wherever and whenever it is good for the people to do so.

“In this case, however, the overwhelming majority of Tower Hamlets Respect concluded we are dealing with unusual conditions.

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“Lutfur Rahman has been subject to a terrible witch-hunt and yet he has shown his mettle by coming through it and convincingly winning selection.

“More than that, he has spoken of his determination to fight the cuts on the basis of the broadest possible coalition.”

“It’s for these two reasons we are going to support him. I would emphasise we are not supporting the Labour Party which has done so much damage in Tower Hamlets, we are supporting this particular candidate, just as we supported Ken Livingstone in the London mayoral election. But we give notice that we will be voting for Lutfur on the basis he leads the fight against the Condem cuts. If he fails in that duty to the people of Tower Hamlets, we will be his fiercest critics.”

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