Labour’s John Biggs has become the new directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets.

The vote went to a second round with Mr Biggs (32,754) beating Cllr Rabina Khan (26,763) who was carrying the flag for the previous mayor, Lutfur Rahman, booted out the office for “corrupt and illegal practices”.

In his acceptance speech Mr Biggs praised the “by and large” positive mayoral campaign and said he would try to reach “across the community”

He said: “I am a Labour mayor and will pursue Labour values but I think what’s important in Tower Hamlets is that we recognise the events of this past year and more with the enormous friction in our great borough and we need, under a new mayor to pull things back together again.

“Without dwelling too much on the past we should remind ourselves why we are in this position and we need to overcome that and we need to move forward.

“We need to recognise that Tower Hamlets is actually quite a magical place, which historically, when people have come from wherever they have come, across the world, across the country – most people in this country have an ancestor of some kind who came through east London, it is a magical place where people come with traditionally quite little and build their dreams.”

Mr Biggs was confident after he was ahead in the first round voting but the first round result was tighter than Labour would have liked. The party had poured resources – and big names – into the campaign which they didn’t dare lose after the general election drubbing.

The vote was always going to be tight and Cllr Khan made a good showing, signalling that Mr Rahman still has a strong core that has not been disillusioned – and perhaps even strengthened – by his dismissal.

Mrs Khan said: "I have been proud to have been delivering a number of progressive left initiatives, they should really have been delivered many years back.

"The last four weeks have shown that an individual can actually tackle a political apparatus and the fact that we didn't win on first preference, we did have to go to second preference, means that a woman can do this very much on her own as well."

Isle of Dogs councillor Peter Golds came third with 8.7%. He said: “It’s clear that a large number of our second preference votes [went] to Labour.”

Turnout was 37.73%.

There was a strong police presence at polling stations yesterday and the overnight count at the Excel, in neighbouring Newham. The count passed without incident, unlike last year's event when the Troxy in Limehouse was siege-like as Mr Rahman's supporters packed the streets outside.

Second round

John Biggs (Lab) 32,754

Rabina Khan (Ind) 26,763

First round

John Biggs (Lab) 27,255 (40.00%, +14.98%)

Rabina Khan (Ind) 25,763 (37.81%)

Peter Golds (C) 5,940 (8.72%, -3.17%)

John Foster (Green) 2,678 (3.93%, -1.18%)

Elaine Bagshaw (LD) 2,152 (3.16%, -3.07%)

Andy Erlam (Red Flag) 1,768 (2.59%)

Nicholas McQueen (UKIP) 1,669 (2.45%)

Hafiz Abdul Kadir (Ind) 316 (0.46%)

Vanessa Hudson (AWP) 305 (0.45%)

Md Motiur Rahman Nanu (Ind) 292 (0.43%, -51.33%)