OPINION: Bethnal Green South Labour Cllr Sirajul Islam makes it clear that elections have no place for fraud


- Credit: Archant

With turnout at elections dropping and political apathy on the rise it is more important than ever that politicians do everything we can to earn the public’s trust.

Whilst the vast majority of politicians are hardworking and dedicated to their local community, the damage done by some politicians who broke the rules has tarnished us all. Instead of bemoaning this fact, it is our duty as public representatives to step to the plate and the win back the trust of voters.

Whilst we live in an age of cynicism, some of it admittedly well founded, the modern world also gives us the tools to change politics.

That is what Ed Miliband is trying to do in Westminster, an aim shared by our Labour movement locally as well as our candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs.

For me there are three things which, whilst a little cliché, have the potential to win back the trust of voters.

A commitment to transparency and openness; true accountability for our actions; and above all a commitment to not only the word but the spirit of the rules which guide us.

Too often politics is seen as a dark art with decisions made for the wrong reasons by small cliques operating behind closed doors. In Tower Hamlets what should be an open, transparent and collaborative process is too often a secretive affair.

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I am proud that John Biggs has pledged to lift the curtain of secrecy around the council, dismantling the current mayor’s propaganda machine and opening up decision making to everyone in the borough rather than a secretive cabal of expensive mayoral advisers.

Alongside transparency comes accountability and a willingness to take responsibility for your actions.

Sadly this is something on which the current independent Mayor fails entirely, refusing to answer a single question from residents or councillors at council meetings – bizarrely he claims it breaks his human rights.

And finally public representatives must be clear and simple about the rules, not twisting and manipulating them to suit their aims.

That is why last week Labour reiterated our firm commitment to the Electoral Commission’s Code of Conduct, to make it clear that elections are no place for dirty tricks and fraud.

I strongly urge anyone who suspects electoral fraud is taking place to report this to the police immediately.