The Labour Party’s John Biggs has been elected mayor of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, a year after he faced baseless allegations of being a “racist” by the borough’s disgraced former mayor, British Bangladeshi Lutfur Rahman.
Rahman was removed from the post in April after a judge found that he had committed multiple electoral fraud and corruption offences in a political career which had been defined by him playing the “race card”.
The re-run saw the Mr Biggs, currently a London Assembly member, win 32,754 votes in the contest.
His nearest rival was Rabina Khan, an independent candidate who was backed by Rahman.
She won 26,384 votes.
Rahman – who had run as an independent after being ousted from the Labour Party and became Britain’s first elected mayor – was accused of favouring the Bangladeshi community.
He was widely popular in Tower Hamlets.
Mr Biggs said he would be a mayor for the whole of Tower Hamlets.
“What is important in Tower Hamlets is that we recognise the events of the past year or more have caused enormous tension and friction in our great borough and we need, under the new mayor, to pull things back together again,” he said.
“Without dwelling too much on the past we should remind ourselves why we are in this position; there was bad behaviour.
“We need to overcome that, we need to move forwards, we need to recognise that Tower Hamlets is actually quite a magical place … where people come with traditionally quite little and build their dreams.”
There was a strong police presence at the election count, with Scotland Yard saying before the vote it was assessing 16 complaints of electoral malpractice this time around.