Lib Dem man in council race row short-listed

ONE OF the Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats who 'pandered' to racism has been approved as a potential candidate for the Millwall ward captured by the British National Party in a by-election.

Jonathan Mathews was censured in an inquiry report by Lord Lester QC, but avoided expulsion from the local party after convincing a London region appeal committee that he fully accepted the criticisms.

Mr Mathews was the least culpable of those involved in producing leaflets that Lord Lester found exploited prejudice against Bangladeshis over scarce housing in the east London borough.

But his reprieve renewed embarrassment for the Liberal Democrats, who control the council, angered some Liberal Democrat MPs and sparked claims of a whitewash from Labour - in spite of a Lester report finding that two leaflets 'clearly implied support for a housing policy that would discriminate in favour of white residents'.

While Labour have contained adverse publicity, leaked minutes from an Isle of Dogs Neighbourhood Party meeting after last September's by-election record that one councillor, Eve Amor, believed Labour leaflets did not contain sufficient anti-BNP content. 'She did no work at all during the campaign because she felt the first leaflet (on housing) was racist.'

Wresting the Millwall seat from the BNP in the May council elections would be a damage limitation coup for the successful party. But Labour are likely to talk up the approval of Mr Mathews, a former chair of education, as further evidence of allegations that local Liberal Democrats privately reject the Lester report.

A leadership office spokeswoman said Mr Mathews, who is spending three weeks as an unpaid political adviser to Peter Hughes, the Liberal Democrat leader, had done valuable work with Bangladeshis. Paddy Ashdown, the party leader, told the annual general meeting of the London region last night that 'despite everything' the council had devolved power, tackled waste, improved housing and invested in schools.

The first priority was to stamp out the BNP, he said. 'The politics of race must not be allowed to get a grip again in London's East End. And provided that is the first aim of our campaign in the Isle of Dogs, then I will be campaigning there with all my strength.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
football
News
Hillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test