Tower Hamlets Labour Group has accused East End Life, a free weekly newspaper by Tower Hamlets Council of being politically biased.
Labour said that in the three months to August, there were 158 quotes and 92 pictures of the Mayor Lutfur Rahman and his supporters, compared to only 13 pictures and four quotes from the non-independent councillors and the Speaker of the Council.
A detailed list regarding each councillor referenced in the newspaper was sent in a letter to the Tower Hamlets’ independent auditor to demand action against the “blatant promotion of the independent Mayor” by the newspaper.
A council spokesperson said: “Like neighbouring local authorities, Greenwich, Newham and Hackney, we have a council publication and all of us follow clear guidelines set by the Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity (March 2011) to ensure that all council publicity is fair, balanced and politically neutral. The code is explicit in permitting politicians to lead council campaigns.”
He further added that the local authorities have a duty to report on the performance of the administration and services available to the residents, including those that affect health, community safety and social cohesion.
Leader of the Tower Hamlets Labour group, Councillor Sirajul Islam said: ““People need to see action is being taken to stop the Mayor abusing his position and running the Council as his own personal publicity machine.”
He added that its now clear East End Life is being run for the Mayor and not for the people in the borough as it is intended [using tax-payer money].
Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs said: “I have already pledged to immediately review East End Life if elected but it is vital that residents can trust their money is being used appropriately in the meantime, I hope the independent auditor will act to ensure this.”