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Candidate for political party set up by Lutfur Rahman wins Shadwell by-election

PUBLISHED: 09:42 08 February 2019 | UPDATED: 10:14 08 February 2019

Harun Miah took the seat in Shadwell for Aspire . Pic: Rachael Burford.

Harun Miah took the seat in Shadwell for Aspire . Pic: Rachael Burford.

Archant

A candidate for a political party set up by the disgraced former mayor of Tower Hamlets swooped to victory in a council by-election last night.

Rajin Ahmed with mayor John Biggs. Pic: Rachael BurfordRajin Ahmed with mayor John Biggs. Pic: Rachael Burford

Harun Miah took the seat in Shadwell for Aspire – a party started by Lutfur Rahman last year.

Mr Rahman was banned from standing for office for five years in 2015 after being found guilty of electoral fraud.

The 2014 local elections in the borough were rerun a year later after the Election Commissioner upheld a number of accusations, including that ballots were double-cast and local organisations had been bribed with large sums of money.

An Aspire representative said Mr Harun was “an honourable man who would serve Tower Hamlets well”. He won with 1012 votes to Labour’s 914. Turnout was 35 per cent.

Police officers watched over the count at the by-election. Pic: Rachael BurfordPolice officers watched over the count at the by-election. Pic: Rachael Burford

The by-elections in Shadwell and Lansbury wards followed the resignations of two Labour councillors.

Labour beat Mr Rahman’s former deputy, Ohid Ahmad, in Lansbury 1308 votes to 1002.

The borough’s elected Labour mayor John Biggs said: “Obviously it’s disappointing to lose a seat, but any suggestion the old independents are making a comeback in Tower Hamlets is premature.”

All but one of Mr Rahman’s former Tower Hamlets First councillors, including Mr Miah, lost their seats as Labour swooped to a landslide victory at the local elections last May.

Rabina Khan, who served in Mr Rahman’s cabinet, now sits as a Liberal Democrat councillor in Shadwell.

After last night’s results Labour have 44 seats, Conservatives two and the Lib Dems and Aspire one each.

Nine police officers watched over the count as the council adopted the toughest security measures seen for an election count in the UK.

Returning Officer and Chief Executive Will Tuckley said: “The council’s elections team worked hard putting preparations in place to ensure each ballot ran smoothly, safely, securely and in the spirit of free and fair democracy.”

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