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‘Yes for Mayor’ campaign in Tower Hamlets
services and housing”. borough signed a petition calling for it.
In October, the people of this borough
Keith Vaz MP said the ‘directly elected did exactly that. Around 20,000 of them
Mayor is a ‘National Labour Policy’ signed a petition calling for a new era
and endorsed the campaign. They of openness and decisive leadership
were joined by George Galloway MP for Tower Hamlets. And although many
who stated that he has ‘no intention of of these signatures were discounted by
standing for Mayor’ and will be fi ght- Town Hall bosses they could not dis-
ing for the next MP position in Poplar count 10,200 which was more than
and Limehouse ward. enough for a referendum to be called.
Neil Jameson of TELCO,
an umbrella body cover-
ing dozens of youth, faith
and community organisa-
tions across the capital,
said that the 6th of May ‘was
an important day for Tower
Hamlets and that everyone
should come out and vote’ on
Infl uential politicians, community a system that works well for
leaders and 400 members of the people.
public convened at the launch of the
‘Yes for Mayor’ campaign on Saturday The campaign was set up
6th February 2010 at the Brady Arts after a 20,000 signature peti-
Centre, Whitechapel. tion calling for a referendum
The capital’s fi rst elected Mayor, Ken on whether Tower Hamlets
Livingston pledged his support as the should have a directly
main patron for the campaign, which is elected mayor was submit-
working to get a directly elected Mayor ted in October. At present,
in Tower Hamlets. “An elected Mayor Lewisham, Hackney and
in Tower Hamlets is essential, as he or Newham are the only London
she will be able to fi ght more against boroughs with directly elected
central government to get resources mayors.
for important sectors like social Mr Shiraj, the organiser, in
his Mayoral launch speech
detailed how a directly
elected Mayor would
change the face of this

Directly elected mayors
were created in 2000 to
give local people more con-
trol over how their Council
is run, to strengthen local
accountability, get rid of
the dirty back-room politics
that has held up progress
and delivery in local author-
ities across the country and to make That referendum will take place on 6th
sure that local political elites could May, the same day as the local elec-
not scupper this process. tions. And Tower Hamlets will fi nally
have the chance to shape its own
The legislation included scope for future instead of leaving it to the back-
a referendum to be called if more scratchers and dealmakers who have
than fi ve per cent of the voters in a kept control for too long.
Spice Business Magazine 43 February | March 2010
spice_37.indd 43 11/02/2010 00:09
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