Labour held their two seats in Tower Hamlets with both sitting MPs registering stunning 18 per cent increases in their shares of the vote over 2010, in complete contrast to the party’s dismal showing elsewhere.
Rushanara Ali won Bethnal Green and Bow with a majority of 24,317 on a turnout of 63.9 per cent while the Liberal Democrats lost 15.6 per cent of their share. The Green Party gained 7.6 per cent and UKIP went from practically zero to 6.1 per cent.
Jim Fitzpatrick was returned in Poplar and Limehouse with a majority of 16,924 on a turnout of 62.2 per cent. The Liberal Democrats lost the most votes with a 6.9 per cent decrease.
The increase in the Labour Party vote came despite criticism of the local party in the Election Court ruling which disbarred Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman. Ali said: “Let us make sure that we provide hope and optimism to people who will be worried about their future. It is an incredibly difficult time ahead.”
After his result was declared, Fitzpatrick said: “We need not just more housing, but a higher standard of living and a better funded NHS, which I believe Labour’s program would have delivered. But it would be childish and wrong to deny, if the exit polls are right, that this election is going to be won by David Cameron.”
In a clear reference to the recent Rahman scandal, Poplar and Limehouse, Conservative candidate Chris Wilford said: “This election shows that we can do clean politics in Tower Hamlets.”
By Katharina Schöffmann and Arnau Busquets-Guardia