Lutfur Rahman, re-elected Mayor of Tower Hamlets last month after voters rejected a disgraceful campaign against him, has written an article for the East London Advertiser presenting his views on the election and plans for the future.
I am very humbled to be writing this column as the newly elected Mayor of Tower Hamlets.
Whether you voted for me or not, I am committed to being a Mayor for all the residents of our great borough.
Contrary to the impression given by some sore losers, democracy in Tower Hamlets is in a very healthy state. We had the second highest turnout of voters in all of London.
I visited every polling station on election day and the atmosphere throughout was one of festivity.
All stations had police officers present to ensure campaigners kept their enthusiasm in check. Indeed, it was the stringent measures the council introduced to protect the integrity of the election, combined with the high turnout that contributed to delays in announcing results.
If you look beyond the headlines and examine the results more closely, what emerges is a picture of a sophisticated electorate. While Labour suffered serious defeats in the Mayoral and council elections, Tower Hamlets voted second highest in London for Labour in the European elections. Thousands who voted for me and my supporters also voted Labour for the European elections.
The message from the electorate of our borough is clear. The vast majority see themselves as part of the broader Labour family, they have social democratic values and aspirations, and they voted for politicians whether inside or outside of the Labour party to enact those values.
As politicians it is our responsibility to act on those aspirations. That’s why I have invited Labour councilors to be part of my cabinet. I sincerely hope they accept. I believe that by working together and leaving aside the acrimony of the past, the interests of our residents are best served.