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Former Mayor of Tower Hamlets re-elected after five year ban

Lutfur Rahman has been elected again as the Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets Council, following the expiry of a five-year ban from running for office after he was found guilty of corrupt and illegal practices in 2015.

Rahman of the Aspire party was re-elected last week (5 May 2022) after receiving a total of 40,804 votes, beating the Labour candidate, John Biggs, by more than 7,000 votes.

He previously held the mayoral post from 2010 to 2015 until Richard Mawrey QC, sitting in the Election Court, concluded Rahman had "driven a coach and horses" through election law.

The 2014 election of Mayor for Tower Hamlets had to be re-run following the decision, and the court made an order banning Rahman from standing for office for five years.

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Rahman strongly denied any wrongdoing at the time and sought to appeal the decision but was unsuccessful.

The litigation came after an independent report carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers concluded that there had been breaches in relation to grant-making, property deals, the use of media officers in the Mayor's office, and the spending of authority monies on what amounted to political advertising for the benefit of the Mayor.

In December 2017 Rahman was struck off the roll of solicitors and ordered to pay £84,600 in costs.

In September 2018 the Metropolitan Police Service said that a lengthy investigation had “not identified sufficient additional evidence or investigative opportunities” to enable it to request the CPS to consider the charging of any individual in relation to offences of electoral fraud and malpractice arising from the 2014 mayoral election.

Responding to his win on Friday, Rahman said: "The people who came out in large numbers and who voted for us yesterday – gave me another chance, gave my team another chance – I am grateful for them.

"The people of this borough understand right and wrong, despite the propaganda against me, despite the smears against me, despite the insinuation until the last minute against me."

He later added: "They based their decision on what we delivered before and our promises going forward."

Adam Carey

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