Lutfur Rahman elected Tower Hamlets mayor despite establishment smear campaign

Ex mayor Luftur Rahman

Lutfur Rahman has been re-elected mayor of Tower Hamlets after a bitter campaign during which much of the media and political establishment lined up against him.

Rahman, who stood as an independent, got 37,395 votes beating his nearest rival Labour’s John Biggs who got 34,143 votes. The turnout was exceptionally high for a local election at over 47%.

During the election campaign Rahman said he stood on his record – introducing the first London Living Wage Borough; building more affordable homes than anywhere else in the UK; and replacing the Education Maintenance Allowance to help young people stay in education.

Meanwhile, his political opponents from the mainstream parties accused him of misusing public funds and unfairly favouring his own supporters. BBC Panorama even made a high-profile documentary only months before the election which heavily criticised the mayor. Rahman denied the claims and his supporters alleged that his critics were Islamophobic and even racist.

On Twitter dozens of Rahman critics insinuated that he was corrupt and by extension so were his Bengali supporters. Those tweets were strongly condemned as racist and Islamophobic by Rahman supporters and even some who opposed him.

Hours before the result was announced hundreds of Lutfur Rahman supporters gathered outside the counting venue in East London to celebrate his victory. The crowds grew as the result announcement neared amid a considerable police presence inside and outside the venue.

Following his victory Rahman told hundreds of supporters that the “borough had spoken.”

He said: “I’m really grateful for your support and this victory is for you whether you are black or white, Muslim or non-Muslim, everyone is part of the community. All I want to do is serve the community.”

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