Respect yourself

4 Jul


Once upon a time in a land far, far away… 

In 2006 Hanif Abdulmuhit was elected as a Labour-hating, Galloway-loving Respect councillor in Newham.

In 2008 he was Respect’s candidate for the London Assembly in City & East, standing against Labour’s incumbent, the saintly John Biggs.

At the time he said, “We need a party in East London that puts people before profit. New Labour has turned its back on its own supporters.”

And George Galloway commended him, saying “Hanif Abdulmuhit is an excellent councillor… Londoners deserve better than New Labour timeservers.”

Now, in 2013, Mr Abdulmuhit has put all that behind him. He is a loyal Labour man and on the shortlist for the 2014 council elections.

Of course he won’t be the first ambitious local politician to realise that the path to electoral success in Newham requires a change of allegiance. There are at least four current councillors who previously stood for other parties before converting:

  • John Gray stood and lost heavily 3 times as a Liberal Democrat. Since 2010 he has been secretary of the council’s Labour group
  • Patricia Holland also ran unsuccessfully as a LibDem
  • Alec Kellaway was actually elected 3 times as an SDP/Liberal Alliance/Liberal Democrat before defecting to Labour in 1994. He is now Sir Robin’s Executive Member for Business and Skills.
  • Forhad Hussain, now Plaistow Community Lead Councillor, stood in 2006 for Respect

If he is successful Mr Abdulmuhit already has a blog he can revive, proudly bearing the masthead ‘Councillor Hanif Abdulmuhit’. He may want to delete the rest of it though.

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