Lutfur Rahman discusses bid for mayoral election

Lutfur Rahman

Lutfur Rahman - Credit: Mike Brooke

Ex-Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman has denied any electoral wrongdoing as he makes his bid to fill the role once again.

Mr Rahman was removed from office as mayor in 2015 and banned from standing for office for five years after a civil court found him guilty of corrupt and illegal practices.

Now permitted to run again, Mr Rahman is standing as the Aspire candidate in the race for mayor in elections on May 5.

Richard Mawrey, the election commissioner who ousted Mr Rahman from office in 2015, said he had “driven a coach and horses through election law and didn’t care”.

The commission also upheld a number of allegations against Rahman and his former party Tower Hamlets First relating to the 2014 election.

These included voting fraud and making false accusations that now incumbent mayor John Biggs was a racist.

Despite the Election Court’s decision, Rahman still rejects their findings.

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In an interview with the Local Democracy Reporting Service, he said: “I have always maintained my innocence, I believe that report was a travesty of justice.

“We came out at each stage and said there was no illegality on my part or on the part of any member of my administration.

"However, I am always someone who wants to learn from my mistakes … I’ve reflected on what I did and my administration did during the time we were in power. Obviously there are some learnings and I have learned from those mistakes.”

Mr Rahman argued that he had never been charged, despite Met Police investigations into the incident.

Ahead of the May elections, Mr Rahman’s Aspire party has made gains – winning a council seat in 2019 and again last August, overturning large Labour majorities in both.

He was confident people wanted to see a new administration in Tower Hamlets.

“I believe we have a fantastic chance if people choose to get us back to power on the fifth of May," Mr Rahman said.

"All I want to do – all my team want to do – is to be given a chance to serve the people of the borough.”

The full list of candidates for mayor are John Biggs (Labour), Pamela Holmes (Independent), Rabina Khan (Liberal Democrats), Hugo Pierre (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition), Lutfur Rahman (Aspire), Elliott Weaver (Conservative) and Andrew Wood (Independent).