Labour rejects Mayor’s claim it has ‘admitted defeat’ in Tower Hamlets
PUBLISHED: 11:59 21 May 2014 | UPDATED: 13:47 21 May 2014
The mayor’s team was accused of “desperation” by its political rivals just days before residents headed to the polls after it claimed Labour had “admitted defeat” in Thursday’s elections.
Lutfur Rahman’s party Tower Hamlets First (THF) claimed the national Labour Party had dropped Tower Hamlets from its election target list of key battleground authorities, citing a recent TV appearance by Labour MP Sadiq Khan.
It also alleged Labour’s mayoral candidate John Biggs had accepted a new post at the London Assembly, where he currently represents City and East.
Deputy mayor, Cllr Ohid Ahmed, from THF, said: “It looks like the national Labour Party has abandoned the Tower Hamlets Labour Party.
“Even its candidate, John Biggs, doesn’t expect to win as he has accepted another job at the GLA for next year.”
But Labour shot down the THF claims, saying they were “riddled with inaccuracies and desperation”.
Mr Biggs said: “Make no mistake. I am 100 per cent committed to the job of Mayor of Tower Hamlets and for me it is most definitely a full-time job.
“Maintaining a limited role on the GLA will help me give Tower Hamlets a louder voice, fighting against things like our police and fire station cuts – things that Lutfur Rahman’s isolation means he is unable to influence.
“But let me be clear. Mayor of Tower Hamlets is the job I want and I am totally committed to the work that will require.”
Labour also pointed to endorsements from Labour leader Ed Miliband, who recently visited Brick Lane to campaign for Mr Biggs, Dave Prentis, general secretary of UNISON, and several other Labour MPs and GLA members.
Mr Biggs added: “We’re fighting hard for every vote. To say anything less is little more than wishful thinking from an increasingly desperate Lutfur Rahman.”
Mr Khan also dismissed the claims about Labour’s target list, saying: “Winning the Tower Hamlets mayoralty is one of Labour’s very highest priorities in London.
“Tower Hamlets is one of our battleground boroughs, and we will continue to work around the clock to get John elected.”