Private Eye gives awards for Rotten Boroughs

The magazine, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in October, named Tower Hamlets in its Rotten Boroughs Awards pic: Gwydion M. Williams

Hackney and Tower Hamlets Councils are among those honoured this year with awards for “crimes against the council taxpayer” by satirical magazine Private Eye.

Both boroughs received tongue-in-cheek accolades as part of the annual Rotten Boroughs awards, which lampoon local authorities for their less-than-laudable antics.

Hackney Council picked up the dubious gong of ‘Moral Guardians of the Year’ for passing a bill to stop the licensing of sex businesses in January.

The Eye said: “Hackney Council voted to outlaw strip shows in pubs, while doing nothing about actual brothels masquerading as ‘massage parlours’.”

Tower Hamlets Council meanwhile scooped the ‘Testimonial of the Year’ prize after elected Mayor Lutfur Rahman admitted giving a character reference to an illegal minicab driver who sexually assaulted a passenger however he claims to have been mislead as to the charges against the driver.

The magazine claims Rahman gave “three wildly different explanations of why he had done so.”

Both councils were contacted by EastLondonLines but were unavailable for comment.

The Eye’s awards are based on its ‘Rotten Boroughs’ section, which reports on whisperings of misconduct, impropriety and chutzpah in the corridors of local power.

Other winners of note this year included Conservative-controlled Hammersmith and City Council, which won a ‘Big Society Award’ for directing Afghan refugees to seek advice from the Southern Afghan Club – a dog owners’ society.

Historically, a rotten borough was a parliamentary constituency with a tiny population that still elected MPs, often to represent fewer than 50 voters. They were abolished by the Reform Act of 1832.


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