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
Style No courtesy title or style
Appointer Electorate of Tower Hamlets
Term length Four years
Inaugural holder Luftur Rahman
Formation May 2010 referendum

The directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets is the vacant position of 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'.[1] 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.[2] 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.[2]

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 candidate Luftur 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.[2] Labour's former London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, also campaigned in support of Rahman, in breach of Labour Party rules.[3]



The first election took place on Thursday 21 October 2010, with a 25.6 per cent turn out.[4] The new mayor officially took office on Monday 25 October 2010.[5]

Tower Hamlets mayoral election 21 October 2010 [4]
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


In 2015 this election was declared void by an election court.[6]

Tower Hamlets Mayoral Election 22 May 2014 (since declared void by an election court[7]) [8]
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%
Turnout 84,234 47.58%
Void election result Swing

2015 by-election[edit]

The 2014 election has been declared void and a new election will be held on 11 June 2015.[6][9][10]

Labour have re-selected John Biggs as their candidate.[11]

John Foster was announced as the Green Party candidate.[12]

Tower Hamlets mayor election, 2015
Party Candidate 1st Round  % 2nd Round Total  First Round Votes  Transfer Votes 
Labour John Biggs {{{r1votes}}} {{{r1votespercent}}}%
Green John Foster {{{r1votes}}} {{{r1votespercent}}}%
1 Rabina Khan {{{r1votes}}} {{{r1votespercent}}}%

1 Tower Hamlets First councillor Rabina Khan has announced that she will stand as a candidate.[13] However, as a result of findings in the election court case against Rahman, Tower Hamlets First was removed from the register of political parties by the Electoral Commission as the party was not operating a responsible financial scheme and the running of the party did not follow the documentation given in the party’s registration.[14][15]

List of elected mayors[edit]

Political party Name Entered office Left office


Lutfur Rahman 25 October 2010 23 April 2015
Tower Hamlets First
(from 2013)


  1. ^ "Tower Hamlets Speaker of Council". Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ "Ken Livingstone campaigning for non-Labour candidate". BBC News. 2010-10-18. Retrieved 2010-12-04. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ "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. 
  6. ^ a b "Tower Hamlets election fraud mayor Lutfur Rahman removed from office". BBC. 23 April 2015. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Tower Hamlets Mayoral Election - Thursday, 22nd May, 2014". Tower Hamlets Council. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Tower Hamlets Green Party,
  13. ^ Mike Brooke (1 May 2015). "Rabina Khan takes on fight for sacked mayor Rahman for Tower Hamlets re-run election". The Docklands and East London Advertiser. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  14. ^ Mike Brooke (29 April 2015). "Rahman's 'Tower Hamlets First' is removed from Electoral Commission's party register". The Docklands and East London Advertiser. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  15. ^ "Media statement on removal of Tower Hamlets First from the Electoral Commission's register of political parties". Electoral Commission. 29 April 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.