Minister condemns Tower Hamlets regime
A local government minister has criticised the political campaigning of executive mayor of Tower Hamlets as "a corrosive use of tax payers' money".
Brandon Lewis widened his attack to condemn the "divisive community politics" and "mismanagement" overseen by Lutfur Rahman.
Last month, watchdog Ofcom censured the five Bangladeshi channels for broadcasting dozens of improper adverts in January last year.
The ruling concluded: "The purpose of the advertisement was to promote the mayor in a positive light."
In response to a question from Limehouse and Poplar MP Jim Fitzpatrick last week, Mr Lewis said the political broadcasts contravened the Communications Act 2003, the UK Code of Broadcasting Advertising and the Code of Recommended Practice for Local Authority Publicity.
He told the Commons: "The use of taxpayers' money for political campaigning is simply not acceptable, and this is in addition to Tower Hamlets' disregard of the [Code of Practice] through its continuing publication of its weekly propaganda newspaper, East End Life.
"Such actions are not just a misuse of public funds, they are ultimately harmful to local democracy."
He called the broadcasts "further evidence of a worrying pattern of divisive community politics and mismanagement of council staff and resources by the mayoral administration."
No-one from the Mayor's Office would comment on Mr Lewis' statements about the TV broadcasts, but a council spokesman said: "East End Life is budgeted to be produced at net nil cost to Tower Hamlets Council. The £1.2million required to produce is offset by the advertising revenue it raises each year.
"East End Life has been subject to intense scrutiny.
"After in-depth financial analysis and public consultations we are assured that a weekly publication is the most cost effective way of fulfilling our legal duty to inform the community."