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LUTFUR Rahman was in the lead at every stage in Saturday’s Labour Party selection vote for a candidate to run for the first-ever elected mayor of Tower Hamlets.

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LUTFUR Rahman was in the lead at every stage in Saturday’s Labour Party selection vote for a candidate to run for the first-ever elected mayor of Tower Hamlets.

But the controversial former council leader didn’t quite make the required 51 per cent of the vote required in the seven-name shortlist preference vote, it has emerged today.

He was neck and neck with two rivals, London Assembly budget chairman John Biggs and current Tower Hamlets council leader Helal Abbas.

It was only on the fifth round that Rahman streaked ahead by 150 votes over Biggs in second place, with Abbas trailing third.

He emerged from the count at 11pm to a crowd of cheering supporters outside Bethnal Green local party HQ in Cambridge Heath Road, just two hours after the poll of party members closed.

“He was short of just 40 votes on the first round,” one insider told the East London Advertiser. “Rahman was close ever time, until it went to the fifth round. That’s when he won it pretty convincingly by a wide margin.”

Some 20 party members had to be turned away because they had no proof of identity, though 10 returned later with the right documents to prove who they were.

One member arrived to find someone had already cast his vote. He convinced party officials to let him vote anyway and was given a different-coloured ballot form—blue instead of pink—which would only be used if their was a tie-breaker, but in the event was not needed.

Altogether 881 party members voted on Saturday night from a shortlist of seven, with a preferential vote of one-to-seven, to select Labour’s candidate for the October 21 mayor election.

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