Row over ‘Mayor’ leaflet thanking Tower Hamlets by-election candidate

Fresh controversy has erupted today over election practices at a by-election at Tower Hamlets taking place on Thursday.

A leaflet is being circulated in the Weavers ward at Bethnal Green signed by Mayor Lutfur Rahman thanking one of the candidates, Abjol Miah, and ward councillor Kabir Ahmed for raising the issue of “dangerous driving”.

It states the mayor has instructed council officers to investigate the problem “with the intention of installing road bumps.”

But the leaflet has angered opposition councillors who have now written to the Town Hall’s legal executive.

Tory group leader Peter Golds has told Isabella Freeman that there is no agreed budget for a traffic calming schem, nor any consultation.

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His letter says: “The leaflet which supports Abjol Miah, a candidate on Thursday, implies that council priorities have been adjusted to give support to a candidate in an election, less than a week before polling.”

He told the Advertiser later: “It is potentially corrupt if instructions have been given to council officers to bring traffic calming in without public consultation.

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“We have election leaflets without an imprint, which is against electoral law. Police need to look into this and find out who’s circulating it.”

Cllr Golds, who insists traffic calming would be a waste of public funds on a road that is difficult to drive through due to parked vehicles, is asking the Town Hall’s legal executive why priorities “have been adjusted for naked political and electoral purposes.”

But the council insists the leaflet was not published using Town Hall resources, so there was “no breach of pre-election rules” as far as they were concerned.

The Mayor could also “direct how budgets should be used where intervention is required to promote safety.”

But a Town Hall spokesman assured there would be “appropriate consultation processes if speed bumps are required.”

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