Directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets

Directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets
Mayor of Tower Hamlets
Lutfur Rahman

since 25 October 2010[1]
Style No courtesy title or style
Appointer Electorate of Tower Hamlets
Term length Four years
Inaugural holder Lutfur Rahman
Formation May 2010 referendum

The directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets is a new directly elected mayor, elected on 21 October 2010, taking on the executive function of Tower Hamlets London Borough Council in east London, England. The position is different from the existing largely ceremonial, annually appointed mayors of Tower Hamlets, who will become known as 'chair of council' after the first election.[2]



The proposal to change the status of the borough from one with a leader and cabinet to one with an executive mayor was initially opposed by all the main political parties and was an initiative only proposed and supported by the Respect Party. Respect[citation needed] and Islamic Forum Europe organised a petition to trigger a referendum for this change.[3] Council officers stated that almost half the signatures were invalid, with entire pages bearing the same handwriting. Despite the flaws in the petition, there were sufficient valid signatures for the Council to accept it, and a referendum was held on 6 May 2010 simultaneously with the voting in the United Kingdom general election. The referendum was passed after an intensive campaign.[3]

Local authority Date Yes Votes Yes Vote % No Votes No Vote % Turnout %
Tower Hamlets 6 May 2010 60,758 60.3 39,857 39.7 62.1

Candidate selection

Political parties began selecting their candidates for the forthcoming election in October 2010. The candidates selected are:

Candidate Political party
Helal Uddin Abbas Labour Party[4]
Alan Duffell Green Party[5]
John Griffiths Liberal Democrats[6]
Neil King Conservative Party[7]
Lutfur Rahman Independent[8]

Lutfur Rahman initially appeared to have won the nomination to be candidate for the Labour Party.[4] Members of the Respect Party at an internal meeting decided not to field a candidate, urging their supporters to back the Labour Party candidate.[9] Lutfur Rahman was soon dropped as the official Labour Party candidate by the National Executive Committee on 21 September while it investigated "serious allegations concerning both the eligibility of participating voters, and the conduct of Lutfur Rahman." The Labour Party proceeded to select Helal Uddin Abbas as their candidate for the forthcoming election,[4][10] who had originally come third in the Labour selection process.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph on 17 October, Andrew Gilligan represented the forthcoming election as the first big test for the recently-elected Labour leader Ed Miliband, given the possibility of an independent candidate defeating the official Labour candidate in a strong Labour borough. Gilligan also said that it raised concerns over the political power of radical Islam in the UK, because of Rahman's connections with Islamic Forum Europe. The latter, along with local business interests which had supported the petition and referendum to have a mayor, prominently backed Rahman's campaign.[3] Labour's former London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, also campaigned in support of Rahman, in breach of Labour Party rules.[11]


The election took place on Thursday 21 October 2010, with a 25.6 per cent turn out.[2] The new mayor officially took office on Monday 25 October 2010.[1]

Tower Hamlets mayoral election, 2010[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Lutfur Rahman 23,283 51.8
Labour Helal Uddin Abbas 11,254 25.0
Conservative Neil King 5,348 11.9
Liberal Democrat John Griffiths 2,800 6.2
Green Alan Duffell 2,300 5.1
Majority 12,029 26.7
Turnout 44,985 25.6


  1. ^ a b "Council boss in charge until new Tower Hamlets mayor takes charge on Monday". East London Advertiser. 21 October 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-12-14. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  2. ^ a b c "Mayoral election result, 21 October 2010". Tower Hamlets London Borough Council. October 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-12-14. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  3. ^ a b c Gilligan, Andrew (17 October 2010). "Tower Hamlets extremist vote poses Ed Miliband's first big election test". Sunday Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-10-18. 
  4. ^ a b c "Labour drops its front-runner in East End mayor battle". East London Advertiser. Archived from the original on 2010-12-14. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  5. ^ "Alan Duffell selected as Green Party Mayoral Candidate". Tower Hamlets Green Party. 2010-10-21. Retrieved 2010-12-04. 
  6. ^ "John Griffiths selected as Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets". 2010-10-21. Retrieved 2010-12-04. 
  7. ^ Vote for a King - Neil King (2010-08-11). "Vote for a King - Neil King". Wharf. Retrieved 2010-12-04. 
  8. ^ "Rahman to stand as independent in Tower Hamlets mayoral race". East London Advertiser. 23 September 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-12-14. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  9. ^ "Respect Backs Lutfur Rahman For Tower Hamlets Mayoral Election". Socialist Unity. Archived from the original on 2010-12-14. Retrieved 2010-12-04. 
  10. ^ Hill, Dave. "The Guardian Dave Hill Blog". Guardian. Retrieved 2010-12-04. 
  11. ^ "Ken Livingstone campaigning for non-Labour candidate". BBC News. 2010-10-18. Retrieved 2010-12-04. 

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