Thank you – Forward

Huge thanks to all my friends and supporters for all the hard work over the past few weeks and months, and for the kind words since Saturday.

The result of the selection has been widely reported:

Round 1: Rachael Saunders 261, John Biggs 257, Helal Abbas 207, Sirajul Islam 26.

Round 2, after Abbas and Siraj eliminated and second preference votes redistributed): John Biggs 328, Rachael 319.

John Biggs was therefore selected as our mayoral candidate, and we will all now unite behind him to win back Tower Hamlets council for Labour in 2014.

I stood in this selection because I felt so strongly about what we need to do win for Labour in 2014 and move Tower Hamlets forward.  Now this stage is over I will do all I can to contribute to a Labour win, and will continue to fight for a politics that is open and transparent, that values the different contributions that people have to make to this great, diverse borough.

I hope to continue to serve as a councillor and to work as a part of a Labour team to bring hope to Tower Hamlets, through jobs, decent housing, cohesive neighbourhoods and strong public services.

A fourth Labour leader, Dennis Twomey, backs Rachael

Six Labour people have led Tower Hamlets council since we won back power in 1994.  Two of them are standing in this selection.  The other four are all backing me. 

Today I am able to announce the endorsement of Dennis Twomey.  His statement is below:

“I’m backing Rachael because I think she is far and away the best candidate, and because although I don’t support having Mayors, if we’re going to have one I want one who is going to be open and transparent and who will bring new thinking to the problems of Tower Hamlets”.  

The statements of Denise Jones, Michael Keith and Julia Mainwaring, the other three past council leaders backing me, are here:  

Tackling poverty, public health

handing in NHS petition

April 1st sees the implementation of changes in how the NHS operates, with GPs taking over commissioning and public health responsibilities coming to the local authority. 

Whilst Tory cuts to services are a real threat, there is hope for Tower Hamlets with our GPs committed to transparency  in decision making.  Practitioners and commissioners are working together to resist privatisation and fragmentation.  The NHS Pledge is our bottom line, and Sam Everington GP as the chair of the clinical commissioning group is signed up.   

As Mayor, I would put public health at the heart of everything the council does. 

Ill health is both a cause and a symptom of poverty.  With overcrowding, damp housing, and outrageous pollution levels we face real challenges, but there is so much we can do. 

We can break the cycle of poverty by tackling malnutrition in our schools.  Significant priority has already been given to childhood obesity, but the issues are wider, and we need to work with schools and health professionals to develop nutrition measures so we can develop objectives for improving the wellbeing of our children, to give them the best possible start.  “Can Do” community grants and health trainers are the start of local people and organisations leading change on healthy lifestyles. 

As Mayor I would work with colleagues to use public health impact assessments across the council, including in regeneration and planning. 

Air pollution is responsible for close to 9% of deaths in Tower Hamlets each year, and is at the root of a range of chronic conditions.  As a council we must get serious about tackling congestion and holding developers to account for the pollution caused by building works. 

Currently, we have a Tory Mayor Of London who dodges responsibility for tacking pollution, and an Independent Mayor of Tower Hamlets who is interested in short term gimmicks than in making real change on public health. 

I have brought GPs, health professionals, trade unions and campaigners together as Tower Hamlets Labour’s lead on health.  I know how to bring people together to get things done.  As Mayor, I would protect the NHS, and bring local people and organisations together to tackle the health inequalities that perpetuate poverty.