Lutfur Rahman has been elected mayor of Tower Hamlets in East London in a stunning comeback seven years after being ousted from office by a court.
Rahman, who served a five-year ban from standing for public office, managed to unseat the incumbent mayor, Labour’s John Biggs, under the banner of his Aspire party.
Rahman won 40,804 votes in the second round, with Biggs on 33,487.
Rahman was kicked out of office in 2015 after a specialist court concluded he was guilty of vote-rigging, buying votes and religious intimidation – accusations he denied.
Speaking to reporters after the count, Mr Rahman said: “The people of the borough gave a verdict today. I was in the court of the people. And they said, in a loud voice, they wanted Lutfur Rahman and his team to serve them for the next four years and that’s what I want to do.”
Conceding defeat, Mr Biggs said: “I wish every success to my successor, who will have a formidable challenge in doing this job. It’s a tough gig, as they say.
“My role now is to accept defeat graciously. I love Tower Hamlets, it’s a great place, and I want it to be a strong and better place and I pass my best wishes to my successor and I hope he can make that happen.”
Rahman stood on a manifesto of tackling the cost of living crisis; tackling the social housing crisis; accelerating education; boosting culture, business, jobs and leisure; investing in public services; investing in libraries; tackling the social care crisis; and empowering communities and fighting crime.