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New Tower Hamlets Mayor pleads for unity

PUBLISHED: 03:46 22 October 2010 | UPDATED: 17:07 22 October 2010

Lutfur Rahman faces the media after winning the contest

Lutfur Rahman faces the media after winning the contest

Carmen Valino

Newly-elected Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman calls for unity in the East End

Rahman greets hundreds of excited supporters outside York Hall

THE first directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets pledged to work for all residents as the East End faces the tough economic climate in the days ahead.

It has been a turbulent few weeks for Lutfur Rahman who was deselected by the Labour party and made the decision to run as an Independent instead.

In his acceptance speech, after winning 51.7% of the vote (23,283 votes), he said: “All I have wanted to do is serve the people of Tower Hamlets.”

He added: “I have received and benefited from the services of this great borough and I have always wanted to give back.”

The former Labour leader of the council said: “The people of Tower Hamlets last May spoke for a change in governance of Tower Hamlets. The people of Tower Hamlets spoke today to elect me as their first directly elected mayor. All I want to do is serve the people of Tower Hamlets whether black or white or whatver their religion or creed.

“Whatever part of the community you belong to work with me to deliver for the people of Tower Hamlets. If we work together and with each other we can do so.”

He added: “Join me to heal the divisions.”

The newly elected mayor emerged from York Hall greeted by cheers from a 400 strong crowd of supporters who had waited for more than four hours outside in the cold to hear the result.

Poplar and Limehouse MP JIm Fitzpatrick pledged to hold the new mayor to account.

Labour’s candidate Helal Abbas said: “This is a sad night for those of us who want to build a better future and a united Tower Hamlets.

”Lutfur Rahman has won tonight but not as he wanted, as the Labour candidate.

”Thankfully, Labour’s ruling National Executive had the backbone to stop him from being the Labour candidate.”

Lutfur’s election will trigger a by-election in the Spitalfields and Banglatown ward.

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