Peter Golds: Tower Hamlets count shows what's bad about borough

By Rob Virtue on May 27, 2014 11:39 AM |



By Peter Golds

Last week after yet another marathon count, the Mayor and new Tower Hamlets councillors were decided. Sadly, despite the pre election publicity there was little evidence that any action was being taken to stop attempts to intimidate voters at polling stations.

On the mid afternoon of election day, there were eleven male supporters of Lutfur Rahman in the playground of a local school and several more at the entrance. Voters had to run a gauntlet to get past them.

Exactly what we had previously been told by the authorities would be stopped.

The election count commenced at 9.30am last Friday and was adjourned at 11.00am on Saturday morning.

Sadly the count showed much of what is worst about the divided politics of this borough. Well before the 2am declaration of the mayoral election, the counting centre was besieged by a threatening crowd of Tower Hamlets First supporters.

A member of Labour's shadow cabinet, who had been attending the count, was told that he should not leave as the police could not guarantee his safety. He did leave shortly after.

Another small group, including women, who were by this time exhausted, required a police escort to their car and still later our local MP and one of the mayoral candidates had to leave by the rear of the building.

Behaviour that would be shocking in the third world, should not be permitted in the world's greatest and most multi cultural city.

■ Peter Golds is Conservative councillor for Island Gardens.