Nominations have closed for the June 11 Tower Hamlets mayoral elections with 10 names on the ballot paper – and accusations of dirty tricks and foul play already flying around between Labour and the Tower Hamlets First.
Labour candidate John Biggs has decided against visiting Mosques during worship after THF leapt on an endorsement as a sign of “double standards”.
At a recent visit to East London Mosque, secretary Shibbir Choudhury urged worshippers to support him.
Claims of “spiritual influence” were among a number that felled former mayor Lutfur Rahman so Mr Biggs immediately distanced himself from the endorsement saying: “I’m a Labour candidate and I want you to look into your hearts and vote for whoever you think is the right candidate.”
Tower Hamlets First supporters turned on Mr Biggs who told blogger Ted Jeory: “Tower Hamlets First are a party devoid of principles and morals – this was well established in the court case. Although they now have to describe themselves as ‘independents’ it looks like nothing has changed.”
In a second incident, blogger Mark Baynes, who runs the Love Wapping site, said that Tower Hamlets Homes newsletters were delivered along with leaflets supporting the candidature of Cllr Rabina Khan. Cllr Khan is Lutfur Rahman’s chosen successor, running under an independent label after THF were barred.
This has echoes of a campaigning strategy deployed during last year’s mayoral election. At that time, Lutfur Rahman initially denied his party had used the THH apparatus for party purposes before an investigation prompted a mangled admission.
Cllr Khan took to Twitter to deny her involvement, saying she had not yet canvassed Wapping, while the party claimed a “stitch-up”.
A statement from Tower Hamlets Homes said: “THH has not authorised the distribution of our newsletter with any other materials and the (Love Wapping) film shows an individual who is not a member of our staff.
"We are very concerned with the reports about how our newsletter is being distributed by the external company that we currently use, and we are now investigating this matter urgently. It appears that we may have been very badly let down, and we have already instructed the company to stop all remaining distribution of our newsletter immediately.”
Mr Baynes says he has handed over evidence to the police.
Names on the ballot paper also include Cllr Peter Golds (Conservative), Elaine Bagshaw (Lib Dems), Andy Erlam (Red Flag – Anti-Corruption), John Foster (Green), Nicholas McQueen (Ukip), two more independents and an Animal Welfare Party candidate.