Last night’s by-election victory in Spitalfields and Banglatown ward was a stunning result for my administration.
Despite the local Labour group pouring massive resources into the ward, they suffered a huge swing to Independent candidate Gulam Robbani.
I am proud to welcome Gulam onto my team. Gulam is a well-known figure in the borough, and has years of service to the Labour movement under his belt. His expertise in the area of health and social care has proved invaluable and I know that he has the qualities to make a great local champion for Spitalfields.
The main reason the Labour Group’s candidate lost is that they failed to address the issues the voters are most concerned about; jobs, housing, education and crime.
Instead they resorted to the kind of negative campaigning the Tories are currently running against Ken Livingstone.
The voters in Tower Hamlets are tired of dirty politics.
They responded positively on the doorstep to the fact that my administration is building 1,000 new affordable homes a year; has reintroduced the Educational Maintenance Allowance, is creating jobs and putting more police on our streets.
We are delivering the kinds of improvements to residents that would make any Labour administration proud, and puts plenty to shame.
In a week which saw grave warnings that government benefit reforms could deny free school meals to thousands of families, voters expect politicians to work together to protect our borough from a callous Tory government determined to make the poorest in our society bear the brunt for an economic crisis caused by the richest.
The sooner the Labour Group wake up to that fact, the sooner we will be able to reunite progressive forces in the East Endand focus on the real enemy.