'Tower Hamlets is brilliant': East Londoners reject Paul Scully's 'no-go areas' comments

Residents and businesses in Tower Hamlets have rejected a claim by MP Paul Scully that parts of the London borough were a “no-go” zone.

The Conservative former London minister said on Tuesday he regrets sparking controversy for claiming that parts of Tower Hamlets and Birmingham have become “no-go areas”.

He made his contentious remarks while condemning MP Lee Anderson for claiming that London Mayor Sadiq Khan was under the control of Islamist extremists, following months of protests against the Gaza war.

"The point I am trying to make is if you look at parts of Tower Hamlets, for example, there are no-go areas,” Mr Scully told BBC London radio on Monday.

"Parts of Birmingham, Sparkhill, where there are no-go areas, mainly because of doctrine, mainly because of people using, abusing in many ways, their religion because it is not the doctrine of Islam, to espouse what some of these people are saying.

"That, I think, is the concern that needs to be addressed."

Both Tower Hamlets and Sparkhill have large Muslim populations.

His remarks were condemned by Labour MPs Apsana Begum and Rushanara Ali, whose constituencies cover Tower Hamlets.

Residents have also fought back against the claims.

Trish Donnelly, 58, a retail worker told the Standard on Tuesday: “I’ve lived in Tower Hamlets for many years, it’s brilliant. It is very multicultural and welcoming. It includes Brick Lane which people come from all around the world to visit and there is an old London charm.

“If there are any no go zones I haven’t seen them and I have lived here for more than 35 years.”

Ali Sarwar, 24, who works in a restaurant, said: “I was born in the borough and to say it’s not a friendly place is wrong. Everyone is welcome from wherever they are from.”

“The restaurant where I work has people eating from all countries and races.

“There are Eastern Europeans, Chinese, everyone. Of course there is crime in the area but that is the same for every big city. I think the comments from the MP are hurtful and incorrect.”

Anton Spinks, 21, a business student, said: “As a student Tower Hamlets is brilliant. Great venues, good affordable restaurants and I have had no negative experiences. I’m from a small town but I’m not in any way scared here.”

Chloe Hedges, 32, a mother of three said: “I don’t think the place is exactly a no-go zone but it can be scary especially at night in certain areas.”

Artur Souza, 23, a delivery rider, said: “I ride all over the borough and go to doors and meet a lot of people. People are fine mainly.

“The big problem is that there is a lot of people don’t have enough money. I don’t think religion is the worry.”

Abdul Baig, 41, a food importer, said: “I think what the MP said was a disgrace. Everyone is welcome in Tower Hamlets.

“People here want to live in peace, and to dismiss it as a place where people should fear because they have a different religion or are a different race, is disrespectful.”