Will Labour’s NEC act against Ken?
The big election news overnight was the result of the contest for the elected mayor of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and the overwhelming defeat of the official Labour candidate in an area where the party has traditionally been very strong.
This is the biggest election there’s been since Ed Miliband became leader a month and the failure of the party to win can only be regarded as a big blow.
When the results were counted the independent, and former Labour candidate, Lutfur Rahman, came out top with 52% of the vote – more than twice as many as his official Labour opponent. This mean that second preferences did not have to be taken into account.
There’s been controversy in the campaign following the appearance a few days before polling of Labour’s mayoral candidate for London, Ken Livingstone, on a platform with Rahman.
The problem for Labour is that if the NEC acts against Livingston he could, likewise, run as an independent – as he did in 2000.
According to Andrew Gilligan in the Telegraph Rahman is a “.. fundamentalist sympathiser sacked from the Labour Party for his links with a Muslim supremacist group and several powerful local businessmen”
Last month Ken had an overwhelming victory in the ballot of London party members and trade unionists to become his party’s candidate to take on Boris in 2012.
These local mayoral contest are huge elections because the winner is given an enormous amount of executive authority. The role of councillors is down-graded.
You could have got Rahman for 5/4 on Wednesday. Annoyingly I didn’t put a bet on.