Councillor Rabina Khan, Liberal Democrat Councillor in Shadwell, has been chosen to stand for the Liberal Democrats in the Tower Hamlets Mayoral election in May 2022.
Rabina came second in the Mayoral race in 2018.
If elected she would be the first female directly-elected Mayor.
She would also be the first directly-elected Mayor to know what she was doing.
For the last year or more whenever Cllr Rabina has been asked if she would stand for Mayor she has been completely non-committal, the best anyone has managed to get from her is “I will decide nearer the time”. Moles sources say this was genuine and she only made a decision in the last couple of weeks.
Lutfur Rahman has hissy fit
This news has been under embargo until 12am today so it is only now that we can report that one Lutfur Rahman had a huge hissy fit when he heard the news that Cllr Khan was standing, as he had taken her non-committal response to mean “No” and assumed he could take the Bangladeshi vote for granted.
To be fair Lutfur is used to working with people who lie as a profession so, hey!
Cllr Rabina’s Mayoral candidacy does pose a significant threat to Lutfur’s chances of getting his feet back under the Mayoral table and finishing up projects in which he has taken a personal interest.
Indeed several local politicians have told Moley that this is the only reason he wants to be Mayor once more – for what he gets out of it.
This may seem a harsh judgement. But what has Lutfur Rahman has been doing since he was kicked out of office for corruption?
Not a lot it would seem. Certainly little to no involvement with the community. Maybe he is just not interested.
The ex-Mayor does seem much more enthusiastic about two commercial developments in the borough, St. George’s Baths and the Whitechapel Masterplan.
Media statement from Mayoral candidate Rabina Khan
Here is some of the official media statement issued by Mayoral candidate Rabina Khan today.
“As a Liberal Democrat Mayor, I would fight for a more equal, stronger and greener Tower Hamlets,” said Khan. “I want Tower Hamlets to be a national leader for a greener and sustainable economy in a post-Brexit, post-pandemic world that is still unequal for far too many.”
“We need inclusive climate change policies so people and communities are part of the debate for change without creating a them and us situation. I have campaigned for life science investment in the Borough to provide jobs and fill the gaps left by Brexit.
I want a Tower Hamlets that stands up for the rights of leaseholders devastated by fire safety bills, service charges, and will fight for commonhold ownership. A Tower Hamlets that holds unscrupulous landlords and rogue housing associations to account and builds the homes we desperately need.”
Well, there’s a thing.
After months of silence Cllr Rabina Khan becomes the first to publicly declare her candidacy for the Mayoral position in 2022.
And there was Moley thinking she was a sensible person.
But seriously folks, after our description of the Aspire-Labour party the other day it is a refreshing change to talk about a politician whose colleagues are from the same party as her.
Maybe it will catch on? Doubt it.
Whatever happens to the Aspire-Labour Party it is likely that Cllr Rabina will win big for the Lib Dems if she manages to increase her share of the vote and get some more Lib Dem councillors elected.
The borough would immediately benefit from this as it would be a more robust opposition to Labour.
Considering the significant problems Mayor Biggs has in trying to control his party (he can’t) and the significant numbers of current Aspire-Labour candidates who have had enough and are leaving (probably the sensible ones the borough needs) and the difficulty of Tower Hamlets Labour recruiting new talent (why join a dysfunctional party and get your personal reputation trashed by way of thanks?) it is almost beyond doubt that the Aspire-Labour block will haemorrhage votes.
Where’s the machine?
The main handicap that the Lib Dems have is not possessing an experienced political machine which can be deployed across the borough.
The Lib Dems have to turn this to their advantage and be able to change quickly, although there still may be one or two who who spend a little too much time considering patterns for their next home knit jumpers.
It is a safe bet that, as in previous elections, Islamic Forum Europe better known as IFE (or the Muslim Community Association Limited as it would really, really, REALLY like to be known as now) will be out in force to help out Lutfur and it will be interesting to see if IFE (Oops MCA! Sorry!) deploys its machine for Biggs too.
Local ward councillor does her job shock
Whatever her qualifications to be Mayor Cllr Rabina is an extremely busy and active ward councillor.
Any candidates new to Tower Hamlets politics (and many who are not) would do well to follow Cllr Rabina down Watney Market and see how often she is stopped by residents who greet her by name, often with thanks for problem their ward councillor has sorted out for them.
If you are thinking “So what? That’s normal for a local councillor isn’t it?” then you are obviously new to Tower Hamlets politics.
It’s the opposite of normal round here.