Lutfur Rahman’s contempt for democracy revealed

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Mayor refuses to answer over 200 questions from residents and councillors

-       Rahman has only answered 4 public questions since he was elected

The pressure on the current Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, over the lack of transparency in his administration is building after it was revealed that since being elected in 2010 he has refused to answer more over 200 questions from members of the public and fellow councillors during Council meetings.

Statistics revealed at the recent Council meeting showed that the Mayor has only ever answered four of the eighty six questions from members of the public at Council meetings. Rahman has also refused to answer 138 questions from the councillors who were elected to hold him to account, and has not answered a single question since April 2011 when legal officers ruled that it would be a breach of his human rights to force the mayor to answer.

Labour have labelled the revelation ‘an utter disgrace’ accusing Rahman of ‘total contempt for the democratic process’.

Separately, the Chair of the Council’s cross party Overview and Scrutiny Committee revealed that of the 50 meetings they have held since Rahman came to power, the mayor has only attended five. The Committee said this had dramatically hampered their ability to scrutinise the mayor’s decisions and ensure the best outcomes for local residents.

Councillors gave the Mayor the opportunity at the Council meeting to explain his silence but, unsurprisingly, he declined to speak.

Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Sirajul Islam, said:

“The mayor’s total contempt for the democratic process is an utter disgrace. Lutfur Rahman has consistently refused to allow any form of scrutiny or transparency.

“It’s a tragedy that a borough which produced historic politicians like George Lansbury, is now run by a mayor who isn’t willing or able to answer simple questions.”

Labour’s Candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said:

“It is bizarre. Lots of politicians will never shut up! I don't think anyone imagined there would ever be one who would never speak, particularly when it's the most powerful politician in the borough.

“Surely the right to remain silent applies to criminal suspects not public representatives? Maybe he doesn't know what he thinks but sadly I suspect we will never know.

“If I win in May I promise to speak. And answer questions.”

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