Saturday 2 October 2010

Ken sits on the Tower Hamlets fence

The optimists of a new generation would probably not have chosen Tower Hamlets for one of their first political engagements.

But that is where we are, with a highly pitched race for the directly elected Mayor in three weeks time.

Lutfur Rahman, who has chosen to stand as an independent, once the Labour party announced it would look into allegations of irregularities into his earlier election as the party candidate. He will be supported by Respect. The Guardian's Dave Hill is providing the most extensive coverage on his London blog.

Ken Livingstone, with his eye on the Mayoral election in 2012, has gone beyond a (perhaps sensible) call to avoid too many recriminations by issuing a remarkably fence-sitting commentary on the election itself in his post on Left Futures.

Given the electoral system in this contest the position is clear: all those voting for Helal Abbas or Lutfur Rahman must use their second preference votes for the other to ensure there is no Tory or LibDem win in Tower Hamlets.

Well, the clarity doesn't quite extend to any sense of whether Labour's London Mayoral candidate will go so far as to advocate a Labour vote in the Tower Hamlets election.

So I hope our London Mayoral candidate will clarify his remarks. It would be good to hear Livingstone and other key London Labour figures, such as his campaign manager David Lammy MP, issuing a very clear recommendation about 1st preference votes, and will get out there working for Labour too.

Livingstone's second preference advice seems to duck the issue in what looks very likely to turn into a Labour-Independent contest and, by proxy, something of a Respect last stand following the embarassment of George Galloway's performance in Parliament after being elected.

With Rahman having left the party, and with concerns over his close ties to the Islamist Islamic Forum of Europe, he would not seem a good second choice for many in the party.

John's Labour blog has details of how party members in London can help the Labour campaign for the October 21st election.

Tower Hamlets Labour Party will need all the help that you can give. The campaign office is at 349 Cambridge Heath Road, London, E2 9RA and will be open for canvassing and leafleting from 10am-6.30pm every day until the election.

Please ring 0207 729 6682 or email for further details or to let us know when you are available.

1 comment:

Rachael Saunders said...

It's worth being clear that Lutfur, the ex Labour independent, is backed by Respect. This truly is Galloway's last stand. Please do help us beat them.