Former Labour mayor of London Ken Livingstone has blasted the High Court judge who stripped fraudster Lutfur Rahman of his mayorship as an “unelected bureaucrat”, and called his judgement “very worrying”.
Livingstone attempted to heap doubt on the decision, made by a specially appointed electoral judge yesterday. “If he broke a law why haven’t the police arrested and charged him?” Mr Livingstone asked Iain Dale on LBC.
“[The judge is an] unelected bureaucrat overturning the result of an election. I think this is very, very worrying. If he’s done something wrong have him arrested. Put him on trial. I hope Lutfur will appeal”.
Livingstone added: “in all my dealings with him I’ve never seen anything dodgy”, reports The Evening Standard.
Although Livingston remains a member of the Labour party from which Rahman was expelled in 2010, they apparently remain close. Livingstone has spoken out on a number of occasions in support of his former colleague, including one occasion last year after the BBC’s Panorama aired allegations about Rahman’s bullying tactics and corruption, when he remarked the programme bored him so much he fell asleep.
Responding to the suggestions of corruption, Livingstone defended Rahman, saying: “That’s what politicians do. You use the position to win support for the policies you believe in… This is one of the poorest boroughs in Britain. And of course he’s going to fund groups that support, I mean the Somali community, Bangladeshi community. He’s not going to provide money for the bankers down on Canary Wharf – they don’t need it”.
“The same allegations [were made] against me”, he added.
Livingstone isn’t the only personality of the British left to have given support to Rahman before the court’s findings. Fellow Labour party exile George Galloway brushed the accusations of corruption aside last year, saying instead Rahman should be judged on his high level of spending. Galloway said: “Just what exactly did mayor Lutfur do wrong?
“He presides over some of the best schools in the whole of the United Kingdom in the poorest borough. He has a house building programme in a country where there’s scarcely a house affordable for people be built”.