Respect candidate Fozol Miah has won the Spitalfields and Banglatown by-election, amid allegations of electoral fraud against rival Labour supporters.
Mr Miah beat Labour’s Abdul Alim into second place, taking 666 votes to his rival’s 553. A low turnout of 16.83 per cent saw only 1,486 votes cast.
Last night it emerged that Mr Miah’s election agent has contacted police about three allegations of potential electoral fraud. Police in Tower Hamlets are assessing the complaints.
The by-election was held to fill the council seat vacated by Lutfur Rahman when he was elected mayor in October.
The fraud allegations, which have all been made by Respect supporters against Labour supporters, relate to incidents at three polling stations.
According to east London political blogger Ted Jeory, one of the incidents resulted in Respect supporters chasing and restraining an individual who fled the Canon Barnett Primary School polling station, after allegedly giving a false name to polling agents.
Mr Jeory reports that police attended the scene, but refused to take a statement from the man alleged to have given the false name.
Police would not comment on the incident, but said they had received complaints relating to “electoral irregularities” during yesterday’s by-election, which they were currently assessing.
Respect, who now have two councillors in Tower Hamlets, called their candidate’s win “a great achievement.”
“Labour threw everything at this by-election with 150 activists mobilised for election day. Despite this gigantic effort Labour lost by a substantial margin. This was a great achievement due above all to our excellent candidate and his team,” the party said.
Yesterday’s victory returns Mr Miah to the council seat he held from 2006 until the local elections in May of this year, when he was defeated by Mr Rahman – at the time a Labour candidate.
Mr Rahman went on to break from the Labour party and run successfully for mayor as an Independent, in a campaign which won the backing of Mr Miah’s Respect party.
Last night Mr Miah pledged to work with Mr Rahman, but also to “criticise and oppose” his former rival when necessary.
Results for the Spitalfields and Banglatown Ward by-election
– Abdul Alim, Labour Party – 553 votes
– Jewel Chowdhury, Independent – 28 votes
– Margaret Ann Crosbie, The Green Party – 52 votes
– Fozol Miah, Respect – 666 votes (elected)
– Ferdy North, Liberal Democrats – 33 votes
– Matthew James Smith, Conservative Party – 135
Number of ballots spoilt: 19
Electorate for Spitalfields and Banglatown Ward: 8,827
Votes polled: 1,486
Turnout: 16.83 per cent