Labour draws shortlist in bid to oust Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman

A selection panel has drawn up a shortlist of four Labour candidates to take on Tower Hamlets’ independent mayor Lutfur Rahman at the polls in London’s East End next year.

Interviews took place at the weekend which has led to the list, including two former council leaders, from which all rank-and-file members of Tower Hamlets Labour Party will select their candidate on April 6 in a one-member, one-vote ballot.

Helal Abbas, the last council leader to run the Town Hall before Mayor Rahman took over, is in the ring hoping for a return match after being defeated in the first election for mayor in 2010.

He is up for nomination against London Assembly budget chairman John Biggs, who led the council when it wrestled control of the Town Hall from the Lib Dems in 1994 and is now back in Tower Hamlets politics after 12 years representing east London at City Hall.

Also in the race for Labour’s nomination to run for Mayor in May, 2014, are two more Tower Hamlets councillors, former deputy leader Sirajul Islam and Labour’s lead member for health Rachael Saunders.

Two councillors knocked out from the shortlist were Opposition deputy leader Motin Uz Zaman and former deputy leader David Edgar.