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Thursday 17 April 2014

Gilligan’s Tower Hamlets Desperation

The Telegraph’s supposed “expert” on London politics, Andrew “Transcription Error” Gilligan, has been on the case of Tower Hamlets’ elected Mayor Lutfur Rahman for some time now. It was his banging on about Rahman’s alleged cronyism and the suggestions that council assets were being misused that started the BBC off on the path that brought forth a recent Panorama expose.
Nobody else turned up there yet, Andy?

As a result of the Panorama programme, circumferentially challenged Communities Secretary Eric Pickles sent in KPMG – having made the threat to camera, he had little option after the broadcast – and the Metropolitan Police opened a fraud investigation. Gilligan must have been ecstatic at the news. But now he’s spinning for all he’s worth, as it all starts to unravel.

Because, as the deeply subversive Guardian has told, “A police investigation into allegations of fraud and financial mismanagement by the mayor of a London council has found ‘no credible evidence of criminality’ ... Eric Pickles sent inspectors into the borough to investigate Rahman's activities, but Metropolitan police officers who reviewed the allegations found no evidence of fraud or other offences”.

The Met statement confirmed this: “On Friday 4 April the Metropolitan Police Service received three files of material ... relating to the London borough of Tower Hamlets ... The files have been reviewed by a team of officers over the past six days ... There is no credible evidence of criminality within the files to provide reasonable grounds to suspect that fraud or any other offence has been committed”.

So that’s it, is it? Not a bit of it: Gilligan has taken to the bear pit that is Telegraph blogs to denounce the Guardian (smeared as “Rahman-friendly”) and the Met, claiming “Lutfur Rahman and police denials fall apart: there is a criminal investigation of Tower Hamlets”. So now the Met was, according to Gilligan, lying. But it was not, and a perusal of his post shows the spin.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed to me tonight that Tower Hamlets CID is investigating alleged fraud at the council involving a grant to an organisation called the Brady Youth Forum. A member of the mayor’s staff is involved in the alleged fraud, I separately understand. The Met said the investigation was at ‘an early stage’”. See the difference between Gilligan and Guardian yet?

What has been deemed a waste of time by the Police is investigation into alleged fraud by the Mayor – Rahman himself. Gilligan is referring to something which not even he can “link” to Rahman. Mr Transcription Error cannot bear to report the facts without spinning them defensively to suit his agenda. But what is clear is that the first conclusion from the Met does not show Gilligan in a particularly good light.

And if KPMG come away empty-handed, he’s finished. Fingers crossed.

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