London

Tower Hamlets mayor defended by George Galloway MP

Ken Livingstone, Lutfur Rahman and George Galloway
Image caption Mayor Lutfur Rahman was supported by Ken Livingstone and George Galloway

The under-fire mayor of Tower Hamlets has been defended by Respect MP George Galloway at a rally in east London.

Last week, the government announced it would send in commissioners to Tower Hamlets Council to oversee how it handed out grants and sold property.

It was in response to a critical report that found there was a "culture of cronyism" at the council.

Mr Galloway said there was a "witch hunt" against mayor Lutfur Rahman and that he was backed by residents.

Speaking to a crowd of about 1,000 people in Mile End, Mr Galloway said: "Just what exactly did mayor Lutfur do wrong?

"He presides over some of the best schools in the whole of the United Kingdom in the poorest borough. He has a house building programme in a country where there's scarcely a house affordable for people be built."

Image caption About 1,000 people attended the rally in support of the mayor

Labour's former London Mayor Ken Livingstone was also at the rally.

Last week, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles called the mayor a "medieval monarch" adding: "There is a clear picture that there has been a fundamental breakdown of governance in this mayoral administration."

The council said the report showed "no evidence of criminality or fraud" and issues identified by it had already been flagged up internally and were being "rectified accordingly".

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