Liberal Democrats launch Tower Hamlets by-election campaign and announce candidates (07/01/19)
The Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats have announced their candidates for the Lansbury and Shadwell by-elections at a campaign launch event at the Ensign Community Hub in Shadwell, attended by Tom Brake MP (Parliamentary Spokesperson for Brexit), Siobhan Benita (London Mayoral candidate), Councillor Rabina Khan, and Elaine Bagshaw (Poplar & Limehouse Parliamentary Spokesperson).
The candidate for Lansbury ward is Muhammad Abul Asad. He has over 35 years’ experience as a grassroots community campaigner in Tower Hamlets and served as a councillor for 28 years. He was the first Bengali to chair the Tower Hamlets Education Committee and was appointed Mayor in 1998. Abul Asad also chairs the Liberal Democrats Friends of Bangladesh.
The candidate for Shadwell ward is Abjol Miah. He grew up in Tower Hamlets and is bringing his children up in the Borough. He has 8 years’ experience as a councillor and 35 years’ experience in youth and community work. Abjol Miah has chaired his local estate’s Tenants and Residents Association and campaigned on social and affordable housing and better facilities.
Speakers at the event attacked Labour for closing the last council run nurseries in Tower Hamlets despite Mayor Biggs’ promises, and giving themselves a £100k pay rise. They noted that it is less than two years since external advisors had to be brought in to run children’s services. They said that the Liberal Democrats would prioritise early life care and investment in children’s services, to give all local children a better chance in life.
Siobhan Benita said:
“The Liberal Democrats are here for everybody in London. It is hugely important to have a strong voice, holding Labour to account in everything they do in Tower Hamlets. Labour have taken voters here for granted. You can’t decimate children’s services on the one hand and still claim to be tackling serious violence on the other. Those two things do not work together.”
Tom Brake MP said:
“The Liberal Democrats can be strong in Tower Hamlets again. All communities value things like education and child services which are core Liberal Democrat values, and we have a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate what we can do for people.
Brexit is the single biggest issue people are facing today - with an impact on jobs and future opportunities. The money that is available to invest in public services, housing, nurseries, will be reduced as a result of Brexit. We are opposing it as we can see the financial advantages of being in EU in terms of investment and opportunities for our communities and young people.”
Councillor Rabina Khan said:
“When John Biggs stood as Mayor he said there would be no scandal. But the first thing Labour did was give themselves pay rises. We live in a borough where 1 in 3 children are living in poverty but he closed the nurseries. He did not put people at the heart of Tower Hamlets. They have been let down by Labour time and time again, and we need a strong opposition.
I am now part of a mainstream party that is about integration and inclusion. We are part of the mainstream, we are part of British society. We want to see our yellow bird flying over Tower Hamlets. We demand better for Lansbury and Shadwell.”
Muhammad Abul Asad said:
“I am the only mainstream alternative in Lansbury to the failing Labour administration. The Mayor’s councillors are making headlines for all the wrong reasons, and the Liberal Democrats are the only party that can hold them to account. My top priorities for Lansbury would be tackling anti-social behaviour and the rise in knife crime, and pushing for more and better social housing. I am also concerned about the impact that Brexit is already having on local people and businesses.”
Abjol Miah said:
“Labour has been failing us. My key message is that the Liberal Democrats are a fresh start. We need to get the message out - only the Liberal Democrats are saying the right things to protect our communities. We can show the people of Tower Hamlets that there is another choice.”
Former Councillor Andrew Cregan:
“We need effective local champions like Abul Asad and Abjol Miah to stand up for residents and challenge the appalling incompetence and complacency of the Labour party in Tower Hamlets. In the Borough with the longest housing waiting list in the country, they saw fit to appoint an alleged housing fraudster as a candidate. They have failed on children’s services and nursery closures. They awarded themselves a £100K pay increase after running a campaign that claimed money was tight. The Liberal Democrats demand better for Tower Hamlets.”
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