Tower Hamlets Mayor’s Taxi Expenses Controversy

Tower Hamlets’ independent mayor Lutfur Rahman is again attracting controversy, this time over his expenses.

The Evening Standard reports that Rahman is rather fond of cabs, spending £2,800 in six months on them, including £71 on a 400m journey and £121 on a trip that could have been replicated by five stops on the DLR. Of course, he’s not the first Mayor to be caught hopping into taxis for short journeys (Boris Johnson spent £4,698 on cabs in his first year in office, including £99.50 from City Hall to Elephant and Castle), but it may prove more damaging to Rahman’s public image, presiding as he does over one of London’s poorest areas and vowing to do everything he can to stave off council cuts.

Rahman suffered another setback last week when the council rejected his budget for next year. Labour and Conservative councillors joined forces to stop £296k for the mayor’s personal advisors and £1.2m being spent on free newspaper East End Life. The freesheet has been described as ‘Pravda propaganda’ (and brings to mind Boris Johnson’s criticism of Ken Livingstone’s The Londoner as a “ludicrous Pyongyang-style newspaper“. We wonder these things are still going if everyone hates them so much).

Expect to hear much more of this kind of thing; Tower Hamlets’ politicians are already gearing up for next year’s election, and we expect Labour to declare all-out war after Rahman, who was deselected as Labour candidate in 2010, kicked their asses by getting double the votes, and the party is recovering after also receiving a beating at the hands of Respect. The shortlist for Labour’s Tower Hamlets mayoral candidate is already drawn up, consisting of defeated 2010 candidate Helal Abbas, Sirajul Islam, Rachael Saunders and Assembly Member John Biggs, who is probably the front runner.

Photo by What’s in Wapping from the Londonist Flickr pool

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  • http://londonist.com/ Dean Nicholas

    I think the Standard has basically ripped off the fine TH blogger Ted Jeory’s work for this story. http://trialbyjeory.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/oli-rahmans-apology-for-1400-of-taxi-fares/

    • http://londonist.com/ Rachel Holdsworth

      Ah, thank you! I did wonder who’d submitted the FOI requests the ES cited.

    • Hyacinth_Bucket

      Except that Ted Jeory’s (admittedly very similar) story is about Councillor Oli Rahman, not Mayor Lutfur Rahman.

  • The Scourge of City Hall

    Forgive me but who is ripping off whom here. £71 for a 400m ride?

  • http://www.facebook.com/richard.evanslacey Richard Evans-Lacey

    Good that Labour and Conservatives can work together when there is a good cause. Be nice if there was more of that in government.

  • ME

    are we talking london taxis or mini cabs