Lutfur Rahman, the independent candidate, has won the Tower Hamlet’s mayoral election with more than half the votes.
Rahman will take position of executive mayor for the borough after defeating his former friend and current Labour candidate Helal Abbas.
Previously de-selected from the Labour party after reports on a Channel 4 programme linked him with a radical Islamic group, Rahman attained 51.76% of the votes (23,283). He denies that he does have such links.
Ken Livingstone, Labour’s candidate for London Mayor, may find his candidacy under threat as he publicly supported Rahman’s campaign. Under Labour party rules no member of the Labour party may campaign for a non Labour candidate.
Livingstone defended his stance in a report in the Guardian before the vote: “My position is clear: I fully support Labour candidates in all elections and I am calling for Tower Hamlets residents to use their first preference vote for our candidate, Helal Abbas. A second preference should be used for Lutfur Rahman to keep the Tories out.”
Eight other Labour representatives have been internally disciplined and suspended for supporting Rahman.
The election was the first ballot for a directly elected mayor in Tower Hamlets, with turnout at just over 25%. Labour’s new candidate Abbas was roundly defeated in the borough, attaining just 11,254 votes.
Labour’s turmoil in the otherwise stronghold borough, may give the Conservative, Green Party and Liberal Democrats some motivation after being defeated so heavily.
Lutfur Rahman now finds himself in control of an Olympic Borough and a billion-pound-budget.
The official vote count:
Lutfur Rahman, Independent – 23,283 votes
Helal Uddin Abbas, Labour party – 11,254 votes
Neil Anthony King, Conservative party – 5,348 votes
John David Macleod Griffiths, Liberal Democrats – 2,800 votes
Alan Duffell, Green party – 2,300 votes