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.