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Lutfur Rahman: Ex-mayor banned for ‘corrupt and illegal practices’ re-elected in London’s Tower Hamlets

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A former east London mayor who was forced to step down and banned from standing for five years has re-emerged to take the top job again.

Lutfur Rahman was removed as mayor of Tower Hamlets in 2015 after an election court found him guilty of corrupt and illegal practices, although he faced no criminal proceedings.

But as the results of local elections came in on Friday, Mr Rahman won back the role.

His 40,804 votes beat the 33,487 won by his nearest challenger, Labour’s John Biggs, who had been in the post since 2015.

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Mr Rahman, standing for the Aspire party, claimed he had “a bigger mandate than I had in 2014 or in 2010” and pledged to “rebuild” the borough.

He said: “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 homecare, we delivered the London living wage – the first in London, 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.”

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One of the issues that had angered voters was Mr Biggs’ implementation of low-traffic neighbourhoods, where residential streets are shut off to limit traffic.

Mr Rahman had suggested one of his first acts as mayor would be to scrap them, saying: “Our roads have been closed, blocked up.

“It is contributing to more CO2 in the borough when the idea was to reduce it.

Image:
Mr Rahman defeated incumbent John Biggs (centre)

“We’re going to look at our roads, we’re going to consult and re-open our roads.”

Back in 2015, election commissioner Richard Mawrey made a series of findings against Mr Rahman, saying they had revealed an “alarming state of affairs” in the east London borough.

Four voters had taken legal action against Mr Rahman, making a series of allegations, including “personation” in postal voting and at polling stations, which involves people illegally voting on others’ behalf.

Mr Rahman had insisted there was “little, if any” evidence of wrongdoing against him, with his lawyers dismissing the claims as “in some cases downright deliberately false allegations”.

Because of Mr Mawrey’s ruling, the 2014 Tower Hamlets mayoral election was ruled to be void and a re-run was won by Mr Biggs.

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