Lutfur Rahman’s party takes control of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
THE party of previously-banned mayor Lutfur Rahman, has taken control of Tower Hamlets in London from Labour, according to reports.
The Aspire party had only two seats on the east London council but won 24 of the 45 seats in last week elections.
Rahman was also re-elected as the borough’s mayor, seven years after he was removed from office. He managed to unseat the incumbent mayor, Labour’s John Biggs, under the banner of Aspire party, reports said.
Rahman won 40,804 votes on the second round, with Biggs on 33,487.
Earlier, an election tribunal found that he was engaged in corrupt and illegal practices, and was banned for five years for standing for public office.
The Conservatives are the only other party elected to the council winning one seat.
According to the BBC, Labour had been in control of the council since 2015 when Rahman was found guilty of electoral misconduct.
Rahman was kicked out of office in 2015 after a specialist court concluded that he was guilty of vote-rigging, buying votes and religious intimidation. But the police and Crown Prosecution Service decided there was insufficient evidence to launch a criminal prosecution.
Rahman announced in February that he was planning a political comeback with a challenge to Labour over “service cuts, tax hikes and road closures”.
After the results were announced, Rahman urged people to “judge me on what we will do for you”.
“I want to rebuild Tower Hamlets, I want to invest in our future, and give our people a better future than we had in the last seven years. Judge me and my administration on our record, what we’ve delivered in the first term. The only borough in the country to have free home care. We delivered the London living wage – the first in London,” he was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
“We delivered the university bursary, educational maintenance allowance. Our promises going forward are even more progressive. Judge me on what we will do for you.”
Rahman was originally a Labour leader of Tower Hamlets council from 2008 to 2010 before running independently for the mayor post in 2010. He won re-election in 2014 under a new party called Tower Hamlets First, but was removed from office in April 2015.