Note: We made a couple of errors in our reporting yesterday but have corrected them (see below). For some odd reason Tower Hamlets council decided there was no room for East End Enquirer staff at the count so we were reliant on reading the tweets of those who were allowed in.
He who laughs last laughs the longest.
Lutfur Rahman has defied his critics (including this author) and once again becomes the Directly-Elected Mayor of Tower Hamlets.
What happens to the borough now is a complete unknown.
This is the same Lutfur Rahman who was banned from seeking elected office in 2015 for five years at the end of an electoral petition that found him guilty on multiple counts of electoral fraud and corruption.
Rahman’s approach to the electoral petition verdict was simple – he was not guilty. He also argued that the judgement by Justice Mawrey was no such thing, it was just a report, not a legal judgement. And also that (quite correctly) he had never been charged with any criminal offence despite lengthy investigations by the Metropolitan Police.
His second Mayoral victory was made even sweeter by the scale of his majority and the damage rumoured to have been caused to the Labour Party n the ward elections.
With just three thousand more first preference votes Rahman would have won the Mayoral election outright in the first round, his 11,600 majority just not quite enough to kill with the first swing of the axe.
First Preference Votes
As it was Biggs conceded soon after the first round votes were announced, realising that his chances of winning on second preference votes was zero.
Apologies for getting that completely wrong yesterday!
For some reason there was a second preference vote which was:
Lutfur Rahman 40,804
John Biggs 33,487
So that’s that!
Sincere congratulations to Lutfur and his team on what is probably one of the greatest political comebacks in local politics.
There will be those who immediately claim that this result was fixed. We would ask these people to present their evidence before they make such allegations.
We have not seen or heard any allegations of fraud during the election. None.
Rahman’s defeat of Labour’s John Biggs is momentous and will almost certainly mean a change of leadership in Tower Hamlets Labour Party.
If there is anything left to lead.