Cllr Peter Golds is a councillor in Tower Hamlets. He has served as a London Councillor for almost 21 years and is a Board Member of the Conservative Councillors Association.
In May 2018, little known, Muhammed HM Harun, (exactly how he appeared on the ballot paper and statement of persons nominated) was elected in the Lansbury Ward of Tower Hamlets, surprisingly defeating Lutfur Rahman’s chosen Mayoral candidate and local councillor, Ohid Ahmed. On paper, Harun looked credible. He was a solicitor and, according to his nomination papers, lived at an address on the Solander Gardens Estate in Shadwell Ward.
After the election he was rapidly appointed to chair the council’s pensions committee, overseeing a multi million pound pension fund, for which he received total allowances of £16,938. His declaration of interest referred to his occupation as a solicitor employed by Duncan Lewis based in Hackney, membership of Momentum, and recorded the ownership of a property in Lancaster Avenue, Barking as well as the property in Shadwell.
Both of these are registered with the Land Registry under the name of Muhammed Halon Miah Harun. What did not appear on any forms was his tenancy of a property in Grundy Street in the Lansbury Ward, which he had vacated in January 2018 and moved to Solander Gardens.
In 2006, Harun registered as homeless by reason of eviction by his parents, from the address in Solander Gardens. As revealed in Court he made hundreds of applications for properties in the ensuing period. It is a legal requirement that should an applicant’s circumstances change, the applicant must notify the local authority. Whilst continuing to bid for social housing in Tower Hamlets, during 2007 he purchased the property in Barking for £230,000, thereby changing his circumstances. He did not notify the council of this despite working for a solicitor at the time. In 2010 he was offered and accepted the tenancy of the property in Grundy Street, E14. This was owned and managed by Poplar Harca and is, of course, social housing.
In 2011 he was admitted as a solicitor and in 2013 purchased the flat at Solander Gardens, from which he claimed to have been evicted, using Right to Buy provisions for the sum of £104,000.
Having put himself forward and selected as a Labour council candidate he moved back to Solander Gardens. It did not take long for Cllr Harun to be exposed as a housing fraudster. Exactly by whom is an interesting question. He resigned from the council in December 2018, causing a by-election in Lansbury Ward.
On November 14th he will be sentenced and has been warned that he has passed the threshold for a lengthy custodial sentence. It was revealed in Court that he was required to pay the council £120,0000 to compensate for the illegal use of Grundy Street and faces additional legal charges of £37,000. The judge informed the Court that letters of character reference had been received in mitigation; one can but hope that they are published. Former Mayor Rahman was a prodigious letter writer to the Courts by way of mitigation for his supporters.
This Momentum supporter, member of the Law Society (he boasted of that continuously), elected public official and property owner became the third Labour councillor in this borough to be jailed since 2010 for defrauding the housing system. All three had access to multiple properties, all three deliberately and corruptly obtained property that could and should have been made available to a homeless family. All three paraded their socialist credentials at every possible opportunity to the public. All three pathetically lied when caught out.
As for the commitment to socialism of our councillors, seven of them have registered interests in 33 different properties within the borough. One councillor is registered as owner of a Home of Multiple Occupation.
In fact, since 2005 this authority has had three councillors jailed for fraud, two disqualified from office for corruption, and one awaiting a likely lengthy custodial sentence. That is, itself, an extraordinary record for a single local authority, not least when one considers the almost total lack of interest by the Metropolitan Police in what goes on within this authority.
The next shameful incident came on Sunday 27th October when members of the Poplar and LImehouse Labour Party assembled to select a new parliamentary candidate to replace the long-serving Jim Fitzpatrick. As would be expected a number of high profie local Labour figures were expected to be considered. Labour’s national executive first decreed that the nomination would come from an All Women Shortlist, then rejected a number of well known local women and produced a shortlist of three. Heather Peto, from the East Midlands (who withdrew from the contest), Councillor Amina Ali (who if selected and elected would have been the first MP of Somali origin), and Momentum activist Apsana Begum, who immediately became favourite.
Begum’s employment record appears to have been no more than a period on a contract working in Lutfur Rahman’s office at the town hall for a number of his cabinet members. She spent a year as Secretary of the local Labour Party, has been seen at council meetings wearing T-shirts with various political slogans, was married for a short period to a current Labour councillor, and has an interesting and much deleted and blocked history on social media.
Lutfur Rahman himself endorsed Begum as did his two statutory deputy mayors whilst in office and jailed housing fraudster Shahid Ali. Of the forty one current Labour councillors in the borough, she secured the support of just two.
During this meeting the police were called to restore order outside of the venue and inside whilst the meeting was being conducted.
Here are some of the tweets that were being circulated.
Suzy Stride, who was Labour candidate for Harlow in 2015 and sought the nomination said:
“Members of Poplar and Limehouse please do tweet any examples if the process tonight either intimidated you, or stopped you from voting – the process should have be inclusive & it was not – we can and do much better than this.”
Another tweet from a member said:
“I’ve never, in all my born years seen such a chaotic, intimidating and shambolic process at Poplar & Limehouse selection meeting. It was the worst organised meeting I have ever attended (and I’ve been to many!). Shameful.”
Disturbingly: “Absolute carnage at the Poplar & Limehouse PPC hustings today. Intimidation outside the venue, especially for women. Awful rabble beforehand and hostile atmosphere during.”
Cllr Kevin Brady reported that as he walked to the meeting he was called a “f****** queer” and the Standard reported that inside an incident took place whereby a man was prevented from taking the ballot paper for a woman.
The Evening Standard reported on this with picture and video coverage.
For locals, this is a reminder of what polling stations have been like in elections, the threats and intimidation are part of the toxic political process in this borough. I was interested that the police seemed more active and interested than during actual elections.
I have no doubt that this will spread to different areas of the country so read and be warned. Labour claim to be concerned about what they call “voter suppression.” How do they describe what happened and described above, albeit at an internal party meeting?