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Minister slams Galloway for bolt hole’ plans after election

PUBLISHED: 07:09 03 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:33 05 October 2010

A GOVERNMENT Minister has accused MP George Galloway of trying to create a bolt hole’ for himself if he loses at the General Election by launching the campaign for directly-elected mayor for Tower Hamlets in East London. Jim Fitzpatrick is throwing his weight behind the campaign to say no’ to an elected mayor

By Mike Brooke

A GOVERNMENT Minister has accused MP George Galloway of trying to create a bolt hole’ for himself if he loses at the General Election by launching the campaign for a directly-elected mayor for Tower Hamlets in East London.

Jim Fitzpatrick, whose Poplar constituency would fall within an elected mayor’s jurisdiction along with Galloway’s neighbouring Bethnal Green & Bow, is throwing his weight behind the campaign to say no’ and keep the system of councillors selecting the local authority leadership.

It was a petition organised by Galloway which has led to a referendum being held this coming May 6.

The two MPs are also squaring up to each other in the coming General Election when they both fight for the redrawn Poplar & Limehouse seat at Westminster.

“Galloway is creating a bolt hole’ for himself if he doesn’t win,” Fitzpatrick told the East London Advertiser. “He won’t win, so he’s preparing a job for himself, paid for from our taxes by running for mayor.”

But Galloway slammed back at Fitzpatrick’s “outburst” and accused him of manipulating the local Labour Party because it was suspended and in special measures.

“Jim is just putting up a smokescreen,” said Galloway. “It’s flattering of him to assert that if I stood for mayor more than half the people would vote for me. On this basis, I will win Poplar & Limehouse from Fitzpatrick easily.”

Galloway added: “For the record, I have no intention of standing for mayor. I intend to fight to be next MP for Poplar & Limehouse.”

Galloway’s campaign for a yes’ vote for an elected mayor kicks off with a public meeting this Saturday at Whitechapel’s Brady Centre with controversial figures joining him on the platform.

They include Labour’s outspoken former London mayor Ken Livingstone, coming out against his own party’s line.


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