1. Tower Hamlets voted for its mayor twice with thumping majorities.
2. PWC audit found no proof of fraud or corruption.
3. Pickles sends in officials to undermine us while ignoring the antics of his Tory councils.
As a borough, 37,395 of us voted for Lutfur Rahman and Tower Hamlets First on 22nd May (four fifths of our two MPs’ total vote combined). We voted not only in spite of, but in part because of four years of desperate attacks from a political class that struggles to understand why they keep being beaten in Tower Hamlets.
We understand why our Mayor wins. It’s not because he rigs elections, only represents one community, or is corrupt. It’s because his record shows he puts residents first, before big business, austerity and machine politics.
We might accept Pickles’ intervention if, as he had claimed, fraud had taken place. As the audit report states, it did not.
We might accept an audit that cost us, local residents, £1m if Pickles was willing to hold every council to such outstanding scrutiny. But whilst Tower Hamlets feels the weight of dodgy accountants and state bureaucrats, Tory councils from Kensington to Basingstoke to Surrey to Trafford are full of corruption claims, financial blunders and institutional failure. Pickles says nothing. Instead he earmarks affluent Tory authorities for more moderate cuts whilst slashing funds to the poorest boroughs. His government’s flagship Big Society Network is under investigation for misuse of funds.
We offer Pickles and his attack dogs a choice. Investigate every other allegedly corrupt council to the same standard, or leave our elected mayor alone so he can spend his time helping residents.
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