Ken Livingstone was accused yesterday of inciting a “lynch mob” of protesters against the public servants being asked to deal with the shortcomings of Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s administration in Tower Hamlets. On Wednesday the former Mayor of London told Rahman’s supporters to find out where the commissioners lived and “make their lives intolerable”.
The commissioners are officials appointed by the Secretary of State for Local Government to go into a particular local authority when problems arise. In the case of Rahman, there are allegations his administration presided over a regime in which Muslim and Bengali causes where supported with public money at the expense of more worthy causes.
Livingstone was speaking at a rally organised by supporters of Rahman that was also attended by the radical left-wing MP George Galloway. Mr Livingstone said: “When these commissioners turn up, find out where they live and then have a peaceful demonstration outside their homes so their neighbours know these are the kind of people who overturn a democratically elected mayor. Make their lives intolerable.”
Kris Hopkins, the local government minister, told the Times: “I am appalled at Ken Livingstone’s comments which run the risk of stirring up a lynch mob mentality in Tower Hamlets. The borough is already riven by the politics of intimidation and division, and stupid remarks like his will only worsen tensions.”
When one of the local Labour MPs, Jim Fitzpatrick, heard what Livingstone had said he commented: “That’s deeply disturbing. It’s almost inciting people to the level of intimidation. The Labour front bench welcomed the statement from Eric Pickles and have accepted the need for commissioners to be sent in to Tower Hamlets, so Ken is clearly not speaking for Labour party policy.”
Ken Livingstone is no stranger to controversy, he was once accused of calling a Jewish reporter a “concentration camp guard”. Although Livingstone admitted he had used the insult he denied any wrongdoing and was eventually cleared by the High Court. He is a long standing supporter of unpopular left-wing causes and invited the Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams to City Hall when he was Mayor.
A group of four local residents led by local campaigner Andy Erlam are petitioning to have the recent local election result in Tower Hamlets overturned. As reported on Breitbart London last month there is now so much concern for witnesses in the case that they are being offered anonymity and police protection.