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Lutfur Rahman attacks Ed Miliband for ‘outrageous’ BNP remarks

PUBLISHED: 17:30 07 May 2014 | UPDATED: 17:30 07 May 2014

Mayor Lutfur Rahman campaigning in Stepney    Photo: Isabel Infantes

Mayor Lutfur Rahman campaigning in Stepney Photo: Isabel Infantes

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Mayor Lutfur Rahman has expressed “outrage” at comments made by Ed Miliband in a scathing statement accusing the Labour leader of comparing his administration to the racist British National Party.

Ed Miliband walking through Brick Lane with John Biggs and Rushanara Ali MPEd Miliband walking through Brick Lane with John Biggs and Rushanara Ali MP

Mr Miliband was in Brick Lane yesterday to support Labour candidate John Biggs’s campaign to unseat Mr Rahman as Mayor of Tower Hamlets on May 22.

On the visit Mr Miliband said Mr Biggs was a “unifying” candidate who had helped defeat the BNP in the borough 20 years ago, and called the current mayor “divisive”.

He also defended Mr Biggs against what he called “disgraceful” allegations of racism made by the Mayor’s team.

In a statement today, Mayor Rahman said: “I am a supporter of Ed Miliband and I want to see him become the next Prime Minister. I share his commitment to a fairer and more equal society.

“I am outraged therefore that Ed would invoke the 20th anniversary of the defeat of BNP candidate Derek Beackon to make comparisons with my administration.

“I grew up under the threat of the National Front and BNP. I remember only too well the racist murder of Altab Ali. I experienced first hand fascist violence and racist hate.

“I have devoted my life to campaign against what fascism represents - to unite black and white, women and men, Muslim and non-Muslim to dispel hatred in our borough.”

The Mayor continued: “I am proud of Tower Hamlets’ long history in fighting fascism and I am proud to have been involved in the campaign to defeat the BNP.

“It is outrageous that in a desperate attempt to win votes Labour equates the victims of fascism with the perpetrators of fascism.”

He added: “I am absolutely committed to fighting for equality for everyone, for improving quality of life for everyone, regardless of their race, gender, sexuality and faith. 

“Shame on those who seek to foster division for electoral gain.”

For more on this story see the link on the right.

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