Two Tower Hamlets councillors have clashed in a public war of words, trading accusations of harassment and smears.
Councillor Rabina Khan, founder of the People’s Alliance of Tower Hamlets political party, claims to have been left “shaken” and “shocked” by the actions of rival mayoral candidate Councillor Ohid Ahmed who has rejected what he calls “a malicious smear campaign”.
Khan claims that Ahmed, who represents the Aspire party on the council and three other councillors, entered her Shadwell surgery last Thursday without prior warning and began talking to people waiting to see her.
Khan says she was ‘shocked’ to see Ahmed walking out with two elderly residents, who had booked appointments to see her. When Khan confronted Ahmed, she claims he began to verbally “harass” her, “continuously wagging his finger and raising his voice” in a manner which left her “shaken”.
Asked the purpose of his visit, Ahmed shouted: “I can talk to whom I like”, later retorting: “I will show you, you’ll see. I can come where I like to speak to you.”
She said she was unhappy at the unannounced arrival of the Aspire councillors, their refusal to acknowledge any wrongdoing and the intimidating manner in which she was spoken to.
Khan said the way in which she was spoken to reminded her of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the gender pay gap: “embodying the sexism that still exists in today’s society”.
Ahmed has called Khan’s version of Thursday’s events ‘’a shameless and totally dishonest attempt at seeking to gain political advantage”.
In a Facebook post Ahmed claimed his appearance at Khan’s surgery was part of “a prearranged meeting” with the constituents in question, and that it was in fact “Cllr Khan who was behaving aggressively and in a threatening manner.” He said there were independent witnesses to verify his story.
Both Ahmed and Khan claim to have reported their own versions of the incident to the “appropriate authorities”.
Aspire is the recently recognised party of former Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman, who was removed from office for “corrupt and illegal practices”.
Ahmed also claimed that he was being libellously “linked [to] Cllr Khan’s recent car accident and house breakage”.
On February 4, Khan was involved in a minor car accident in Bow and shortly before that had to forcibly prevent a helmet-clad stranger from breaking into her house in the middle of the night.
According to Kahn, she opened her front door late at night to a man in a motorcycle helmet who tried to push his way past Khan and into her house. It was only with the help of her daughter that Kahn was able to prevent the man from getting inside. The incident has been reported to the police.