Tower Hamlets Mayor Rahman’s candidate beats Labour in Spitalfields by-election

Labour has been narrowly defeated in a hotly-contested by-election at Spitalfields in London’s East End in its bid to regain a seat it lost on Tower Hamlets Council by defection.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s nominated independent candidate Gulam Robbani took the seat last night with 1,030 votes.

Robbani, one of the Mayor’s former aides who had been contracted to advise him on social care before quitting in February, beat Labour’s Ala Uddin into second place by just 43 votes out of a total 2,315 cast.

Labour had pinned its hopes on former council deputy leader Uddin to retake the seat it lost when Cllr Shelina Akhtar, who won it for them in 2010, quit the party last year to support Mayor Rahman’s independent administration.

The by-election was caused by Akhtar being jailed in January for council benefit fraud.


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The Mayor was out campaigning himself in the week, door-knocking with Robbani who is now almost certain to be offered a place in his cabinet.

Conservatives came third and Greens fourth, pushing Lib Dems into fifth place.

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The results:

Gulam Robbani (independent) - 1,030 [elected]

Ala Uddin (Labour) - 987

Matthew Smith (Conservative) - 140

Kirsty Blake (Green) - 99

Richard Macmillan (Liberal Democrat) - 39

The turn-out was 31 per cent.

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