Investigation launched into Tower Hamlets Mayor’s advisors’ ‘illegal election planning’
PUBLISHED: 14:56 19 April 2013 | UPDATED: 14:56 19 April 2013
An investigation has been launched into the role of Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s team of taxpayer funded advisors, amid claims they are illegally planning his re-election campaign.
Mr Rahman recently used council reserves to almost double the budget for his office and advisors, to £750,000 for the current financial year.
But leaked minutes of a meeting held last year have triggered allegations the Mayor’s team has been illegally using council facilities and staff for electoral and partisan political purposes – in contravention of the Localism Act.
The minutes reportedly showed council officers and advisors involved in preparing campaign literature for electoral wards and discussing setting up a bank account for election funding.
Opposition councillors from Labour and the Conservatives voted together this week to “appoint an independent investigator into this […] in order to identify all misuse of public funds by using council facilities and officers for political campaign activity.”
But Mr Rahman’s cabinet member for resources Cllr Alibor Choudhury defended the £300,000 increase in the budget for advisors and the Mayor’s office.
“Let me stress that our advisors play an important part in the delivery of council services and the Mayor’s priorities”, he said.
He has previously insisted the advisors represent “great value”.
A council spokesperson confirmed the investigation, but offered no further comment.
Mr Rahman will take on London Assembly Member John Biggs in what is expected to be a closely fought contest next year.
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