The disgraced mayor of Tower Hamlets is to appeal against a judgment that found him guilty of corrupt and illegal practices.
Lutfur Rahman was forced to step down and leave the Town Hall after a judge ruled that his election last May was void because of a range of illegal interventions, including ghost voters and the use of “spiritual influence”. He is barred from office for five years as was his agent, Cllr Alibor Choudhury
After the ruling his party Tower Hamlets First, which was condemned as an extension of his ego, said the ruling “came as a shock”.
Now a statement on the mayor’s personal website says: “Lutfur Rahman will be appealing the judgment made against him at last Thursday’s election court.
“He continues to reject all claims of wrongdoing and we hold that the integrity of the court system was marred by the bias, slurs and factual inaccuracies in the election judgment.
“Tower Hamlets First councillors reject the election court’s claims that we are nothing more than a one man band.
“We support Lutfur Rahman as a party because he has led in delivering record numbers of social and affordable homes, investing in our young people with maintenance allowances and university grants and standing up to Tory and Labour austerity.”
“We support former Councillor Alibor Choudhury because of his record as Cabinet Member for Resources of doing the hard work needed to make these policies happen.”
The election will be re-run on June 11 and Tower Hamlets First initially indicated it would be running a candidate.
It has stepped back from that claim saying: “We will also be deciding this week on a candidate to endorse in the forthcoming mayoral election and election for [Alibor Choudhury’s former] Stepney Ward, and we will make that decision based on who we believe is best placed to deliver stronger communities and a fairer future in Tower Hamlets.”
In the meantime, the former mayor has launched a petition headlined “Stop the anti-democratic coup in Tower Hamlets” while Mr Rahman will headline a rally on Thursday (April 30) at the Waterlily Conference Centre, E1 “to set the record straight”.
A judicial review of the decision would look at the integrity of the process rather than re-run the case.