Responding to today’s decision by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to send inspectors into the London borough of Tower Hamlets:
Leader of the Tower Hamlets Labour Group, Cllr Sirajul Islam, said:
“Today is a sad day for Tower Hamlets. Whilst there are obviously serious questions to answer no council wants to be the subject of scandal. Lutfur Rahman needs to reflect very carefully on the position he has put the council in.
“We have been warning about Rahman’s style of leadership for a long time. It is clear, whatever else is happening, the only way to resolve this situation and restore our borough’s reputation is to vote John Biggs in May’s mayoral elections.
“Our focus now is to ensure that this process does not distract from the running of Council services and that the needs of residents are put first.”
Labour candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said:
“It was inevitable that something like this would happen, as serious questions about decision-making and use of public money have not been answered by the Mayor. Many of us have been raising these concerns for a long time and it is disappointing Lutfur Rahman has not faced up to them but has issued blanket denials and accused anyone who challenges him of racism.
“I am very worried about the direction the borough has been taking and that is why I am standing for Mayor. It is time the people of Tower Hamlets get the leadership they deserve.”
In a joint statement Labour MPs for Bethnal Green and Bow, Rushanara Ali, and Popular and Limehouse, Jim Fitzpatrick, said:
“Whatever our political differences a Secretary of State would not take this action without good reason. Given CLG’s decision to send in inspectors and pass their files to the Metropolitan Police it is in everybody’s interest that all involved are as open as possible so the facts can be established.”