Dhaka: Rabina Khan, a Bangladeshi-born British writer, politician, and community worker, is considered as a suitable mayor candidate for the forthcoming elections to Tower Hamlets.
“I intend to lead the most transparent administration ever, with my work and decisions accountable to people,” says Rabina who is contesting as an Independent candidate in the mayor election scheduled to be held on June 11.
People from all walks of life are applauding Rabina Khan, terming her a “fantastic” mayor candidate for her previous record in Tower Hamlets.
They have asserted that they will have to stand together for Rabina so that she can be elected in the re-run polls.
Addressing Rabina Khan, Paul McGarr, NUT Tower Hamlets, said, “Educational maintenance allowance was abolished by the last government everywhere else in Britain, but there is only one place in this country that has restored it and that is Tower Hamlets. It has been done through the power of the people and the ballot. That is the best answer to racism. You’ve a chance here Rabina to make history. You can turn a defeat into a history.”
Syara Ali, an IT analyst from the Isle of Dogs, said, "I support Rabina to be our next independent Mayor because she's committed and passionate about improving employment and enterprise opportunities for women. So much still needs to be done to level the playing field."
Besides, Peter Herbert OBE, a judge and human rights lawyer, said “They don’t see it, but that is what they’ve done. They have galvanized the community in Tower Hamlets. The Black community, the White community, the Bengali community, everybody shed creed and colour in between.”
Also a Cabinet Member for Housing in Tower Hamlets Council, Rabina has recently placed her election manifesto where she has dreamt to make ‘a dream Tower Hamlets’ for children.
She says in her manifesto: “We have a government that plans to slash the welfare cap once again despite warnings from the Children’s Society that it will put our kids on the breadline. What’s really upsetting is that they are doing so with the support of the Labour Party.”
“For Tower Hamlets, where nearly half of our children are below the poverty line, that’s not good enough, nor is it good enough that my children’s generation are growing up with sky-high rents, sky-high tuition fees and sky-high living costs,” Rabina, a mum-of-three, says.
“Before the general election,” Rabina says, “I remember Nick Clegg [former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom] talking about helping young people with mortgage deposits. I know young people that are struggling with rental deposits.”
“Five more years of austerity might be too much to bear. Tower Hamlets needs the kind of leadership that can stand up to this government and its plan to pull the rug out from the most vulnerable in “our society,” Rabina told her voters.
“But it also needs the kind of leadership with the experience of redesigning services to get the most out of a reduced budget. I will never use central government cuts as an excuse to cut vital services,” she added.
Rabina said, “When asked if he would maintain our Mayor’s Education Award--a Labour policy in the first place--my opponent said he couldn’t guarantee anything. The unique support we offer young people has helped make our schools world-class and put us in the top ten for sending people to Russell Group universities in spite of severe deprivation.”
Citing her role as the Cabinet Member for Housing in Tower Hamlets Council, she told her voters: “Under my leadership, Tower Hamlets has seen more than 4000+ social and affordable homes built – more than any other council in Britain as recognised by central government repeatedly awarding us the highest ‘New Homes Bonus’, some £78M.”
“That’s why my primary aim in politics is to tackle London’s dire housing crisis, and as such have been campaigning around the London Living Rent and against government anti-welfare policies such as the hated bedroom tax,” she said.
According to Rabina, politicians should serve the communities they represent. “I firmly believe that we can make development work for ordinary people.”
The mayoral post of Tower Hamlets vacated after the High Court removed mayor Lutfur Rahman. Tower Hamlets First, is to stand as an independent candidate in the forthcoming re-run mayoral election in the borough.
About Rabina Khan
After growing up in Rochester where his father originally worked at the docks, she moved to Tower Hamlets when she was nineteen, where she has lived ever since.
She was a writer and a broadcaster long before she was involved in politics, and so understands the importance of creativity and culture in working against injustice. In 2003, she published her first novel a children’s book and since then have edited anthologies and produced and advised on a range of media projects, working with organisations such as the BBC, ITV, Heritage, Rich Mix, the Wellcome Trust, Channel 4, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Arts Council.
Rabina’s particular focus was on challenging perceptions of women and advancing the cause of Muslim women in politics and public affairs. That has given her a sense of solidarity with all those who find themselves marginalised, and for a long time she has been a strong advocate for migrants rights, welfare rights, disability rights and for working to end the multilayered structures of prejudice that affect all.
She became a councillor for the Shadwell Ward in 2010, and was made Cabinet Member for Housing and she has overseen the creation of 4000+ new affordable homes, more than any other British local authority in that time – including new social housing, community land trusts and bespoke homes for disabled residents.
Rabina is proud to hold a Tower Hamlets Civic Award, the Hero of the Year European Diversity Award 2014 and a nomination for the European Muslim Woman of Influence Award in 2009.