Labour ready for Shelina Akhtar’s Spitalfields seat—if there’s a by-election

A former Deputy Leader of Tower Hamlets council has been selected as Labour’s candidate ready for a possible by-election in London’s East End—should jailed Tower Hamlets councillor Shelina Akhtar be forced to quit her seat tomorrow.

Tower Hamlets Labour Party last night chose Ala Uddin out of seven hopefuls ready to take on the fight to regain Akhtar’s seat at Spitalfields.

Local party officials have until tomorrow (March 6) to find out if Akhtar is appealing against her three-and-a-half-month sentence for housing benefit and council tax fraud, the time limit that her 28-day period runs out, after which she could no longer continue as a serving councillor if she doesn’t appeal.

Labour ranks are now already campaigning for community activist and former councillor Uddin, a board member of Spitalfields Housing Association and non-executive director of NHS Tower Hamlets.

They are mobilising to take on executive Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s preferred candidate Gulam Robanni and would press for a May 3 by-election, same day as the London Mayor vote which they are confident will have a large turn-out in their favour.

Mayor Rahman’s supporters would go for a separate poll a week earlier, April 26, which Labour fears would be a lower turn-out that might give their independent runner a higher chance.