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Livingstone may face wrath of Labour leadership

PUBLISHED: 15:09 25 October 2010 | UPDATED: 17:23 25 October 2010

Lutfur Rahman (left) in Brick Lane with Ken Livingstone

Lutfur Rahman (left) in Brick Lane with Ken Livingstone

Archant

LABOUR’s National Executive is now poised to discuss disciplinary action against its London Mayor candidate Ken Livingstone for publicly appearing in the East End in support of the party’s rival who won last Thursday’s Mayor of Tower Hamlets election.

It is to hold a meeting next month in the wake of calls for Livingstone to be reprimanded after his ‘walk-about’ support in Whitechapel just two days before the election, the East London Advertiser has learned.

His actions seeking the ‘second preference’ for Labour rival Lutfur Rahman, who won overwhelmingly with 51 per cent of the vote, has angered Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick, whose Poplar & Limehouse constituency now falls under the shadow of former council leader Rahman who quit the party to run independently.

“We are bitterly disappointed at Rahman winning,” the MP said.

“Labour is now the Official Opposition on Tower Hamlets council, even with its vast majority. It was a big defeat and we are now left to lick our wounds.”

He and fellow East End MP Rushanara Ali are due to meet the Labour Group on the council tomorrow (Tuesday) to plan its next move.

Labour was hit by the low turn-out, just 25 per cent, with many of its traditional rank-and file staying away from Thursday’s poll.

Labour’s ruling NEC is now looking into Livingstone’s actions at a meeting in mid-November.

“The NEC is to decide about Livingstone and the eight Labour councillors who supported Rahman,” Mr Fitzpatrick added. “It is up to the NEC what to do about them.”

The eight councillors who openly backed Rahman “have expelled themselves form the party,” he pointed out, although a lawyer’s letter of appeal has now been received by the NEC on their behalf.

Ken Livingstone in a statement before the election called for ‘first preference’ for official Labour candidate Helal Abbas—but ‘second preference’ for Rahman “to keep the Tories out” which critics in the party say cost them the election.

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