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Labour launch Tower Hamlets mayoral campaign

PUBLISHED: 18:00 04 October 2010

Jim Fitzpatrick, Helal Abbas, Rushanara Ali, Frank Dobson and John Biggs

Jim Fitzpatrick, Helal Abbas, Rushanara Ali, Frank Dobson and John Biggs

Carmen Valino

THE LABOUR party showed on a united front as it launched its mayoral campaign with a gathering in Mile End.

An estimated 800 people turned up to hear from the party’s candidate council leader Helal Abbas along with endorsements from other East End politicians.

Poplar and Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick and Bethnal Green and Bow MP Rushanara Ali were on hand to explain why they backed councillor Abbas in his bid to become Tower Hamlets’ first directly elected mayor.

Former Labour Health minister Frank Dobson also addressed the crowd at the Water Lily Business Centre in Stepney. London Assembly member John Biggs also gave Mr Abbas his backing.

The local Labour party had initially selected former council leader Lutfur Rahman as its candidate for the mayoral but after its National Executive Committee de-selected him in the run-up to the close of nominations he decided to run as an Independent.

The Labour party has since expelled 11 members, including eight Tower Hamlets councillors who maintained their support for Mr Rahman when he was no longer the party candidate.

The NEC appointed Mr Abbas in his place, although Mr Biggs had been the local party’s second choice.

Voters in Tower Hamlets will go to the polls on Thursday October 21 and have five candidates to decide between.

They are Neil King, Conservative; Alan Duffell, Green; Lutfur Rahman, Independent; Helal Abbas, Labour and John Griffths, Lib Dem.

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