The recent era of Tower Hamlets politics has not been a proud one. Residents do not have to cast their minds back far to recall the electoral corruption of the disgraced former mayor Lutfur Rahman and his right-hand man Alibor Choudhury.
Only last month Cllr Shahed Ali pleaded guilty to housing fraud (after racking up £70,000 in legal costs paid for by the local authority) and was jailed for five months for his crimes.
Despite the long running, toxic behavior of the now-suspended Tower Hamlets First party many had hoped the borough would be able to turn the corner.
I commended the council on its decision to set up a dedicated anti-corruption team, investigating the illegal actions of the previous administration and believe mayor John Biggs has done a fine job in bringing a much needed period of stability during his tenure along with the appointed commissioners.
Readers will be aware the Labour party is currently going through its selection process to choose its candidate for the 2018 mayoral race.
I believe that should be John Biggs. What many may not be so aware of is the smear campaign launched in an attempt to de-select him.
One email circulating, that was brought to my intention claimed the incumbent had been pursuing an “ethnic cleansing policy,” while in office.
This is just one example of the deplorable and outrageous slurs aimed at the mayor.
It is deeply unfortunate that someone believed this was acceptable as part of political discourse but for a minority in our borough, greed and personal ambition are still synonymous with public office.
I would like to take this opportunity to urge, not just Labour party members but all residents of Tower Hamlets to think about the kind of individual they wish to entrust with the responsibility of delivering the frontline services we all need.
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