#ELLGE19: Begum rejects Tory claims of Labour data leak

Apsana Begum at the SEND Crisis meeting Pic: Georgina Gambetta

Labour’s Apsana Begum has rejected alleged evidence that she leaked a party membership list during a 2018 council by-election. 

Begum, the Labour party candidate for Poplar Limehouse, is alleged by Tories to have leaked Labour’s membership list to Zahin Ahmed, son of Ohin Ahmed. He was campaigning for the Aspire Party the new name for Tower Hamlets First, the party of Lutfur Rahman, the disgraced former Mayor of Tower Hamlets.

The Conservative Party shared with Eastlondonlines screenshots of the alleged conversation between Begum, on her supposedly old number, and Zahin Ahmed in which she said “I have given your dad a members list try visit them addresses or call them.” 

The party claim they were passed on the information by an unnamed Tower Hamlets source.

The alleged WhatsApp conversation. Pic. Tower Hamlets Conservative Party

If these screenshots do turn out to be authentic, Begum could be held to have breached Labour Party Privacy Policy

The Tower Hamlets Conservative Party told Eastlondonlines: “[If genuine] this is an issue for the Information Commission if personal data has been shared.” The party have publicly referenced the allegation on their Twitter account.

However, Begum told Eastlondonlines: “This is false and defamatory. I have never exchanged any such texts with Zahin Ahmed. These texts messages don’t exist.”  The Labour Party also said the messages were not authentic. 

An anonymous source, provided by the Tower Hamlets Conservatives, told Eastlondonlines that they had been in multiple campaign chats in which Begum used the number. However there is no direct evidence to say Begum was responsible to the messages.

Ohin Ahmed, previously deputy to corrupt ex-Mayor Lutfur Rahmandid not win a seat in the by-election. 

These accusations by Tower Hamlets Conservatives is the most recent in a long list the party have levied against Begum.  Between October 17 and December 11, the Tower Hamlets Conservative Twitter account posted, liked, and retweeted 66 tweets criticising her. The party have accused Begum of anti-Semitism, being Rahman’s puppet, and not being loyal to the people of Tower Hamlets. 

No other political candidate in the borough has been criticised so continuously on the twitter account. 

Begum earlier told Eastlondonlines: “These completely unfounded complaints are racist and sexist in nature, plain and simple. It is grossly insulting, as well as being rooted in racism and misogyny.”  

Within the constituency, Begum is very popular and in recent weeks has attended events in solidarity with the UCU strike action and SEND Crisis campaigners. She is aiming to succeed Jim Fitzpatrick as MP on December 12 who had a majority of 27,000 at the 2017 election,.

Apsana Begum, far left, at the SEND Crisis meeting group picture pic: Gina Gambetta

The Electoral Commission were also approached for comment following the accusation, but had not responded at the time of publication. 

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