Directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets

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"Mayor of Tower Hamlets" redirects here. For civic mayors, see List of mayors 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 directly elected mayor, first 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 previous largely ceremonial, annually appointed mayors of Tower Hamlets, who became known as the 'Chair of Council' after the first election and are now known as the 'Speaker of Council'.[2] The second election was held on 22 May 2014, the same day as the Tower Hamlets Council election, other United Kingdom local elections, and European Parliament elections.


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]

Mayor of Tower Hamlets Referendum
6 May 2010
Choice Votes  %
Referendum passed Elected Mayor 60,758 60.3
Cabinet System 39,857 39.7
Total votes 100,615 100.00

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.[4]



The first election took place on Thursday 21 October 2010, with a 25.6 per cent turn out.[5] The new mayor officially took office on Monday 25 October 2010.[1]

Tower Hamlets mayoral election 21 October 2010 [5]
Party Candidate 1st Round  % 2nd Round Total  First Round Votes  Transfer 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%
Turnout 44985 25.6
Independent win


Tower Hamlets Mayoral Election 22 May 2014 [6]
Party Candidate 1st Round  % 2nd Round Total  First Round Votes  Transfer Votes 
Tower Hamlets First Lutfur Rahman 36,539 43.38% 856 37,395
Labour John Biggs 27,643 32.82% 6,500 34,143
Conservative Christopher Wilford 7,173 8.52%
UKIP Nicholas McQueen 4,819 5.72%
Green Chris Smith 4,699 5.58%
Liberal Democrat Reetendra Banerji 1,959 2.33%
TUSC Hugo Pierre 871 1.03%
Independent Reza Choudhury 205 0.24%
Independent Mohammed Khan 164 0.19%
Independent Hafiz Kadir 162 0.19%
Rejected ballots 2,306
Turnout 84,234 47.58%
Tower Hamlets First hold


  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. ^ "Tower Hamlets Speaker of Council". Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  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. ^ "Ken Livingstone campaigning for non-Labour candidate". BBC News. 2010-10-18. Retrieved 2010-12-04. 
  5. ^ a b "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. 
  6. ^ "Tower Hamlets Mayoral Election - Thursday, 22nd May, 2014". Tower Hamlets Council. Retrieved 24 May 2014.