Lutfur Rahman in the paper today: it's 'looking very good',' his supporters say

I’ve done a full-page article for today’s Sunday Telegraph on the amazing story of Tower Hamlets’ mayoral election and the fundamentalist Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE). Lutfur’s biggest business backer, Shiraj Haque, is quoted as saying that “things look very good” for his man and Labour thinks it is “extremely close.”

The piece also summarises the main events of the past few months leading up to Thursday’s vote. An extract:

In secret filming earlier this year, Abu Talha, an IFE activist, told an undercover reporter for The Sunday Telegraph and Channel 4’s Dispatches: “The mayor is going to have a lot more control. That’s why we need to get someone, one of our brothers, in there. Which we will do.”

The law says that if 5 per cent of the electorate petition a council, it must hold a referendum on changing to a mayoral system.

Earlier this year another prominent IFE activist, Abjol Miah, organised such a petition. A total of 99.3 per cent of the signatures were Asian names, in a borough which is only a third Asian.

Council officers found that almost half were “invalid”, with entire pages of names and addresses written in the same handwriting and around 5,000 not even appearing on the electoral register.

Nonetheless, enough of the signatures were ruled to be valid. The mayoral referendum was granted and passed in May after an intensive campaign involving the IFE, Mr Haque and others who have now emerged as backers of Mr Rahman.

The literature advocating a “yes” vote in the referendum campaign used an identical logo and typeface to some of Mr Rahman’s leaflets in the mayoral campaign.

Read the full article here.

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