Tower Hamlets’ New-Style Mayor
Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 22nd October, 2010
The man Labour deselected as the party’s executive mayoral candidate in Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, stormed to victory in the first election of its kind last night, garnering over 51 per cent of the vote in first preferences among a field of five. He is a one-time Labour leader of the Council but trounced his successor, Helal Abbas. Eight other councillors have defected from official Labour into the Lutfur camp in recent weeks. The fight between the two became quite nasty, with leaflets being circulated accusing Helal of wife-beating. Outside York Hall, where the count was held, a large crowd of excited Muslim youths gathered, chanting, waiting to herald the new dawn in Tower Hamlets politics. Quite what that will mean is anyone’s guess. Doubtless Ken Livingstone, who infuriated many London Labour activists by endorsing Lutfur, will be amongst the first to congratulate him in the morning. Lutfur was at the centre of a Despatches programme on TV a few months ago, in which journalist Andrew Gilligan underlined his alleged links with radical elements in the Islamic Forum for Europe, and we can be sure that not only Gilligan but other London journos will be monitoring closely what Lutfur does as Mayor and what sort of team he manages to put together in the Town Hall.
Result: Independent (Rahman) 23,283, Labour (Abbas) 11,254, Conservative (King) 5,348, LibDem (Griffiths) 2,800, Green (Duffell) 2,300.