Fundamentalist-backed Labour candidate: the transcripts

Here, by popular request, are the transcripts of two of the filmed interviews I did with some of the sham “vote-bank” Labour members signed up by Lutfur Rahman, the fundamentalist sympathiser who was chosen as Labour candidate for mayor of Tower Hamlets by the local membership on Saturday. A total of eleven people are involved at these two addresses alone. All 11 are still members, according to the membership list used in the selection. This is surely evidence of a prima facie breach of Labour Party rules – and I’ve got lots more in the locker.

Interview at an address in Old Montague Street

Andrew Gilligan: Hiya, is Syed Ali here?

Syed Araf Ali: It depends.

AG: Syed Araf Ali?

Mr Ali: That’s me…What’s it regarding?

AG: I’m from Channel 4. I’m doing a programme about Labour Party membership.

Mr Ali: I’m not interested mate…I don’t want no part with the Labour Party, anything to do with them.

AG: You’re down here as a member of the Labour Party.

Mr Ali: I’m not a member, somebody just put my name down… [Mr Ali is shown his name on the membership list] That’s my brother, that’s me and my brothers. We don’t want nothing to do with the Labour Party.

AG: Somebody just put your name down?

Mr Ali: Yeah.

AG: And your brothers, are they members as well?

Mr Ali: Same thing, mate.

AG: And what about [points at name on list]?

Mr Ali: That’s my sister. Same thing, mate. I’ll speak for everybody.

AG: So how come you ended up in the Labour Party – do you know how that
happened?

Mr Ali: One of my neighbours is part of the Labour Party. I think he’s a councillor or whatever [Lutfur Rahman, who lives three doors down from the Alis, is the only Labour councillor who is Mr Ali’s neighbour]. He asked me if he could put my name down or whatever… I said whatever, and that’s it.

AG: Did you pay any money?

Mr Ali: No.

AG: So somebody else must have paid your subscription, right?

No audible answer.

AG: Did you sign anything?

No audible answer – seems to be talking to someone else in the house.

Mr Ali: That’s it, mate. [Closes door]

Interview at an address in Collingwood House, Darling Row (small flat with six members)

Andrew Gilligan: Hiya is Abdul Malique here?

Abdul Malique: Yeah.

AG: You’re Mr Abdul Malique?

Mr Malique: Yeah.

AG: Hi, I’m Andrew Gilligan from Channel 4, doing a documentary about the Labour Party. Are you a member of the Labour Party?… I’ll tell you why we’re asking, there’s a lot of people on a list as members of the Labour Party here. [shows him list] Do all these people live here? [they go through list]

AG: Angura [Bibi], does she live here?

Mr Malique: Yes, she lives here.

AG: Tahmina Akhtar?

Mr Malique: No, she’s living at another address.

AG: Poli Begum?

Mr Malique: No, another house.

AG: Another house. Shah Alom Hussein?

Mr Malique: Another house.

AG: OK, so its Angura Bibi and you … [shows him another name on the list at this address] Nozir Miah? [Mr Malique points away to indicate Mr Miah also not living at the address]…

AG: So how did you come to join the party? You all joined on the same day I think? [In fact five of them joined on the same day]

Mr Malique: Same day, yeah.

AG: how did that happen, did someone come round and ask you to join or did you just decide to?

Mr Malique: Yeah, someone came round.

AG: Someone came round? [Mr Malique nods]. Who came round and asked you to join?

Mr Malique: Lutfur Rahman.

AG: Lutfur Rahman, OK, all right, OK. And what happened – did he give you the form, or did he give you the money to pay the subscription?

Mr Malique: Yeah, yeah. He gave me the form.

AG: He gave you the form. And did he give you the money to pay the subscription as well?

Mr Malique: Yes [and nods].

AG: He did. All right, OK. And you all signed the form at the same time as well? You were all in the house and you all signed at the same time? [Mr Malique nods]

AG: So these are your…

Mr Malique: Me and my wife.

AG: And the other four are your family?

Mr Malique: My family. They are living in other house…

AG: Just to re-check, how did you pay your subscriptions, can I ask? Did you pay with your own money, or did Lutfur give you some money?

Mr Malique: [Long pause] I can’t lie to you. My son, my son knows everything.

AG: Had you thought of joining the Labour Party before?

Mr Malique: About four or five years ago.

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