Date set for poll to see if Tower Hamlets wants elected mayor

VOTERS in London’s East End have won the right to hold a special referendum to decide if they want a directly-elected mayor or not in Tower Hamlets. The referendum is to be held on May 6, a special meeting of the council decided last night

VOTERS in London’s East End have won the right to hold a special referendum to decide if they want a directly-elected mayor or not in Tower Hamlets.

The referendum is to be held on May 6, a special meeting of Tower Hamlets council decided last night.

It would decide whether to have a mayor for a four-year term or have the local authority continued to be run by a leader elected only by other councillors, but serving four years instead of the current 12 months.

A referendum swing towards a directly-elected mayor would mean an election on October 21 next year, with a newly-elected mayor taking office four days later.

That would mean Tower Hamlets following in the footsteps of neighbouring Hackney and Newham, which both have directly-elected mayors.

No-one has thrown their hat in the ring yet, but Labour’s present council leader Lutfur Rahman is rumoured to be a possible candidate.

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The referendum, which is to be the same day as May’s local council elections, was sparked by MP George Galloway’s Respect party’s petition that was lodged at the Town hall last month.