Home / Lead News / Labour’s John Biggs named new Tower Hamlets mayor

Labour’s John Biggs named new Tower Hamlets mayor

55Labour Party’s John Biggs has become the mayor of London borough Tower Hamlets after the

election of the previous mayor was declared void.

The London Assembly member took the east London borough’s top post, winning 32,754 votes to

take the job previously held by Lutfur Rahman.

Biggs was runner-up last year to Rahman, who was removed from office in a high-profile Election

Court case in April for “corrupt and illegal practices” during a campaign marred by allegations of

vote-rigging and voter intimidation.

There was a strong police presence at polling stations yesterday and the overnight count at the

London ExCel conference centre.

Rabina Khan, a former member of Bangladesh-born Rahman’s Tower Hamlets First party, who stood

as an independent, came second with 26,763 votes, with Conservative Peter Golds third on 5,940.

Turnout was 37.73%.

Biggs, who was the target of a slur campaign that claimed he was a racist in last year’s election, was

greeted with cheers from supporters as the result was announced.

He paid tribute to the “by-and-large” positive campaigns of other candidates and said he would be a

mayor for all the community.

He said: “What is important in Tower Hamlets is that we recognise the events of the past year or

more have caused enormous tension and friction in our great borough and we need, under the new

mayor, to pull things back together again.

“Without dwelling too much on the past we should remind ourselves why we are in this position;

there was bad behaviour. We need to overcome that, we need to move forwards, we need to

recognise that Tower Hamlets is actually quite a magical place, which historically, when people have

come from wherever they have come, across the world, across the country – most people in this

country have an ancestor of some kind who came through east London, it is a magical place where

people come with traditionally quite little and build their dreams.”

Earlier this week fresh allegations of malpractice emerged concerning this year’s campaign.

Problems with postal votes, voter bribery and “dirty tricks” were among claims.

Scotland Yard said before the vote it was assessing 16 complaints of electoral malpractice this time


In the end the count in the cavernous ExCel passed without incident.

Last year’s election was marred by allegations of vote tampering and intimidation at polling stations.

Rahman was barred from office for five years in April after Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey,

sitting as an Election Court judge, found him ”personally” guilty of wrongdoing and ”guilty by his


Local campaigner Andy Erlam, who led the court action that brought down Rahman, stood for his

own Red Flag – Anti-Corruption party and gained 1,768 votes.

Mrs Khan, who is a Tower Hamlets councillor and executive member for housing, said: “I have been

proud to have been delivering a number of progressive left initiatives, they should really have been

delivered many years back.

“All I want to say is that the last four weeks have shown that an individual can actually tackle a

political apparatus and the fact that we didn’t win on first preference, we did have to go to second

preference, means that a woman can do this very much on her own as well.”

Also standing were John Foster (Green) with 2,678 votes, Elaine Bagshaw (Lib Dems) with 2,152,


McQueen (Ukip) with 1,669, Hafiz Abdul Kadir (independent) with 316, Vanessa Hudson (Animal

Welfare Party) with 305, and Md Motiur Rahman Nanu (independent) with 292.