Local elections 2022: Lutfur Rahman elected as Tower Hamlets mayor after ban for corrupt electoral practices

Lutfur Rahman was removed as mayor in 2015 after being found guilty of corrupt and illegal practices by an electoral court, and banned from standing in elections for five years.

Lutfur Rahman has won a shock re-election as Tower Hamlets mayor – seven years after he was removed from office for electoral fraud.

Rahman was removed as mayor of the east London borough in 2015 and banned from standing for five years by an election court.

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He was found guilty of corrupt electoral practices in a civil court, although he never faced criminal prosecution.

Standing again as the candidate for the Aspire party, Rahman pulled off an astonishing political comeback on Friday.

Lutfur Rahman the disgraced former mayor of Tower Hamlets. Credit: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

He beat the incumbent Labour mayor, John Biggs, who succeeded him after Rahman was found responsible for electoral wrongdoing.

Rahman won the first round of voting with 39,533 votes – narrowly missing out on being elected immediately – while John Biggs won 27,894.

Rahman secured his victory in the second round with 40,804 votes in total while Biggs trailed behind with 33,487 votes.

Lutfur Rahman leaving the High Court after his electoral fraud hearing. Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

He will serve as Tower Hamlets mayor for the next four years, with the results of the borough’s council elections to be announced on May 7.

In 2015, an election court ruled his 2014 election win void over wrongdoing.

Election commissioner Richard Mawrey said at the time that Rahman had “driven a coach and horses through election law and didn’t care”.

In an interview with the Local Democracy Reporting Service during the campaign, Rahman argued he would improve the borough’s public services and rejected the election court’s findings against him in 2014.

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.”