Labour councillors call for a public apology
Tower Hamlets Council last week voted to silence independent Councillor Alibor Choudhury after he compared a grieving Labour councillor to Oswald Mosley’s right-wing blackshirts.
The council took the extraordinary step to remove Cllr Choudhury’s right to speak at the meeting after he made the comment aimed at Labour councillor Ann Jackson who was wearing black, having only days before lost her ex-husband who was the father of her children.
After twisting comments made by Cllr Jackson, Cllr Choudhury shouted across the chamber that “Oswald Mosley had his blackshirts, John Biggs has his black cardigans.”
The outburst came less than a week after Cllr Choudhury was widely condemned for making baseless allegations of racism against Labour’s candidate for Mayor, John Biggs. Labour describe Choudhury’s actions as ‘deeply offensive and totally beyond the pale” and called for him to publically apologise at this week’s meeting.
Cllr Jackson will be raising a formal complaint against Cllr Choudhury’s conduct and has expressed concern what she describes as “Cllr Choudhury’s willingness to say anything to smear an opponent no matter how false or how hurtful it might be.”
Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Sirajul Islam, said:
“Over the last two weeks we have seen a clear effort by Lutfur Rahman and his supporters to smear Labour councillors and candidates.
“Comparing a grieving councillor to a racist blackshirt is deeply offensive and totally beyond the pale. If Alibor Choudhury has any integrity what so ever he will publically apologise for his comments and the distress they have caused.”
Labour councillor for Bow West, Cllr Ann Jackson, said:
“I was astonished. I made an effort to attend a crucial budget council meeting a day after a family funeral, only to be subject to this kind of baseless and abhorrent abuse.”
“What really concerns me is Cllr Choudhury’s willingness to say anything to smear an opponent no matter how false or how hurtful it might be.”