Rahman accused of smearing rival over ‘poor treatment’ of minorities

·1-min read
Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman leaves The  High Court on February 25, 2015 (Getty Images)
Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman leaves The High Court on February 25, 2015 (Getty Images)

The disgraced former mayor of Tower Hamlets was on Friday accused of “dog whistle politics” after appearing to smear Labour as racist as he makes another bid to lead the borough.

Lutfur Rahman was re-elected as the borough’s mayor in 2014, but was thrown out of office a year later when found guilty of corrupt and illegal practices.

The election commissioner said he had led a “ruthless and dishonest campaign to convince the electorate his rival John Biggs was a racist”.

Mr Rahman was banned from standing for office for five years. But on May 5 he is standing against Mr Biggs again.

In his manifesto, Mr Rahman says his Aspire party would “reinstate and enforce a ‘workforce to reflect our community’ policy” at the town hall.

He adds: “It is disgraceful that black and minority staff appear to have been treated worse by the administration.”

Mr Rahman pointed to data which showed that while almost 60 per cent of Tower Hamlets council staff come from ethnic minorities, only 30 per cent of those paid over £60,000 a year are BAME.

He said: “If that’s what the council calls equal treatment, I’d hate to see what discrimination looks like.”

Mr Biggs accused his rival of trying to “divide” the community.

He told the Standard: “Under our leadership we have a relentless focus and determination to tackle inequality.”

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