Ten candidates will be standing for Tower Hamlets Mayor in the re-run election on 11 June. The election comes after Lutfur Rahman was found found guilty of electoral fraud and bribery in the 2014 mayoral election and was dismissed as mayor.
The candidates who submitted their nomination papers by the time nominations closed are:
- Rabina Khan – Independent
- John Biggs – Labour
- Peter Golds – Conservative
- Nicholas McQueen – UKIP
- John Foster – Green Party
- Elaine Bagshaw – Liberal Democrats
- Andy Erlam – Red Flag Anti-Corruption
- Vanessa Hudson – Animal Welfare Party
- Hafiz Abdul Kadir – Independent
- Motiur Rahman Nanu – Independent
Khan is a member of Tower Hamlets Council and backed by Rahman, will be running as an independent candidate. Rahman announced that he fully supported Khan in her campaign at the Defend Democracy in Tower Hamlets event last month.
Khan was Cabinet Member for Housing and Development under Rahman. She said she was planning “to build 5,000 new homes and create 20,000 jobs.”
Tower Hamlets First, the party of which Khan and Rahman were members, was removed from the register of political parties on April 29.
If successful, she also hoped to introduce “exciting new policies on culture, on transparency and on standing up for vulnerable people.”
Khan will face opposition from Labour’s John Biggs who Rahman beat in the 2014 elections, which were declared void by the High Court when it delivered its judgment. The court sat as a special Electoral Court. Police are still deliberating whether to conduct a criminal inquiry into the allegations against Rahman that emerged during the hearing.
Biggs has been a Labour Party member since 1981 and was a Councillor in Tower Hamlets between 1988-2002.
In a statement on his website he said: “I want a Tower Hamlets where all communities work together to achieve common goals.”
The other key candidate is Andy Erlam, the former Labour Party member who is standing under the TheRed Flag – Anti Corruption’s banner, Andy Erlam led the group of four campaigners who brought the case against Rahman in the High Court.
The party aims to “campaign for social, economic and political justice.” A statement on their website claims they “start small and see what can be achieved.”
Other candidates include Peter Golds, who is leader of the Conservative Group on Tower Hamlets Council. In 2014 he won the local elections of Island Gardens, with 19.99% of the vote.
Golds said: “The police and Electoral Commission must accept there is a problem” in Tower Hamlets.
He recently wrote an article on the legal proceedings surrounding Rahman, calling the 2014 election “the most corrupt election held in Britain since 1872.”
UKIP candidate Nicholas McQueen is defined as “straight-talking” in the party’s candidacy statement. He came third as the party’s parliamentary candidate for Poplar and Limehouse in the recent General Election.
McQueen said: “The battle of all political battles now commences. No stone will be left unturned. No problem will be overlooked to correct this political cesspit. I will dig deep and uproot the causes and will take no prisoners. Let’s rid Tower Hamlets of the executive mayoral role. Vote UKIP to restore democracy to Tower Hamlets. Do not let another dictator take office!”
Green Party candidate John Foster is a financial journalist living in Bethnal Green. He said: “The Green Party is providing a real voice that can be heard over the in-fighting we have seen in recent years; challenging austerity and speaking up for the disenfranchised.”
The Green Party maintains its opposition to the role of elected Mayor as they believe it gives too much power to only a select group of people.
They propose a referendum as soon as possible. Foster claims he will work with the council by way of a committee system if successful.
The Liberal Democrats’ candidate is Elaine Bagshaw, who says she is a regulator who has held banks to account. She said: “We need to build a better Tower Hamlets that works for everyone. 49 per cent of our children live in poverty. We live in the shadows of the City yet have the second highest unemployment rate in London.”
On the policies she would implement as mayor, Bagshaw said: “We’d save £1.5m by scrapping the council newspaper, have zero tolerance on corruption, make sure that there are affordable homes for working families, deliver new local facilities such as more GPs and better local transportation needed to support our community, create apprenticeships that pay the London Living Wage, and have zero tolerance on corruption”.
Additional reporting: Arnau Busquets-Guardia