So, Lutfur Rahman has decided to stand as an Independent. This move should also mean independence for the Labour Party – who can now turf him out of the party.
Given that Rahman is, and has always been, an Islamic Forum Europe entryist, given that the IFE is associated with the clerical fascist Jamaat-e-Islami, and given that he used an Al Muhajiroun linked lawyer to chase his own party through the courts … I’d say that his expulsion comes not a moment too soon.
[W]ith any luck it will also flush out other fundamentalist sympathising councillors, notably the former cabinet member for employment and skills, Alibor Choudhury – named as connected to the IFE by its then president, Mohammed Habibur Rahman.
In a similar vein, Ted Jeory also observes:
A lot of Labour councillors have some serious thinking to do over the next few days and up in Manchester. They include Marc Francis, Ohid Ahmed, Alibor Choudhury and the gang of three former Respect councillors Oli Rahman, Rania Khan and her mother, Lutfa Begum.
No great loss, any of them.
A Harry’s Place reader also asks the following:
I’d love to know how Lutfur keeps affording to go to court.
It is widely rumoured that Siraj Haque, owner of the Clifton restaurant / property ermpire has been bankrolling Lutfur’s various legal challenges – now well over £100k.
Quite remarkable for a man who
– rents a Hosuing Association property in Bethnal Green as his main residence
– until May was bankrolling Respect’s campign and the ‘Yes to Mayor’ campaign.
But maybe not so surprising when you consider he’s interested in the contract to manage the annual Brick Lane Mela and intertested in buying a number of pieces of surplus land and property owned by the council.
I am wholly agnostic on the answer to that question.
There is a, no doubt partial, but still interesting account of the Labour NEC meeting at which Lutfur Rahman was suspended, also on Ted Jeory’s must read blog. It was produced by Christine Shawcroft, who is a “Grassroots Alliance” supporter – the same grouping as Walter Wolfgang.
This is, apparently, what Harriet Harman said:
She said that there were two questions: firstlycan we suspend our selected candidate? Yes, we can. Secondly should we do it? Yes we should. It’s a difficult decision, but we should do it. This is a bottom-up process, arising from complaints on the ground. The mayoralty is a very important office, TH is an Olympic borough and will get about £1bn extra resources, under the control of the Mayor. We are in the run up to the London Mayor election, and there is the position of the two Labour MPs. Endorsement would be the easy route. There will be more allegations. We have to use our judgement. When we investigate allegations, we suspend the member concerned. We could find ourselves with a suspended candidate, or Mayor. He will go to Respect, they’ve already said they won’t stand a candidate against him. Then Rushanara Ali and Jim Fitzpatrick would be toast. The Party is more important than any individual, and the reputation of the Party is the most important. There will be a row, but better a row now than later on.
So, who will RESPECT be running?