Respect’s Fozol Miah wins Spitalfields and Banglatown by-election

RESPECT’S Fozol Miah has taken the Spitalfields and Banglatown seat after last night’s by-election.

Mr Miah is not a new face to the area as he previously held the seat from 2006 to this May’s local elections, when he was beaten by now mayor Lutfur Rahman.

Mr Miah won more than a third of votes with 666, followed by Labour candidate Abdul Alim who won 553.

Turn-out was low with just under 1,500 heading to the polling stations, or 17 per cent of the ward’s eligible voters.

Vowing to work alongside the Independent mayor, Mr Miah added he will “criticise and oppose” him when necessary.

Respect said in a statement: “Labour threw everything at by-election with 150 activists mobilised for election day and with MP Rushanara Ali chasing up and down staircases across Banglatown trying to seek out votes

“Despite this gigantic effort, Labour lost by a substantial margin. This was a great achievement due above all to our excellent candidate and his team.”

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The by-election was to replace Mr Rahman, who was elected in October, as he could no longer hold a councillor position at Tower Hamlets alongside his mayorship.

After Labour, the next nearest contender was Conservative Matthew Smith with 135 votes.

Maggie Crosbie, for the Greens gained 52 votes.

The Lib Dems’ Ferdy North got 33 and independent Jewel Chowdhury polled 28 votes.

The cost of the election was estimated to be �18,000.

Last night, Rob Hoveman - election agent for Mr Miah - reported three allegations of potential electoral fraud to Tower Hamlets council’s electoral services team.

He also contacted the police about his concerns.

Mr Hoveman claimed one man who attempted to vote did not live in Tower Hamlets and in another instance he said a would-be voter allegedly attempted to impersonate an elector whose name was on the electoral roll.