London

Ex-Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman vows to clear name

Tower Hamlets former mayor Lutfur Rahman Image copyright PA
Image caption Lutfur Rahman was found guilty of electoral fraud at the High Court

The former mayor of Tower Hamlets has vowed to clear his name in his first public speech since a High Court ruling found him guilty of election fraud.

Lutfur Rahman was found guilty of corrupt practices last week and was immediately removed from office.

He was addressing a meeting in east London organised by his supporters to protest against the judgment.

Mr Rahman told supporters his party would win the mayoral race and he would challenge the High Court's ruling.

"Those votes were cast freely and fairly. People in Tower Hamlets are smart, they're astute," he said.

'Challenge racism'

"They did not vote because they were bribed, coerced or intimidated. I don't think they just voted for me just because of who I am. I was voted in on my record."

The High Court ruling prevents Mr Rahman from standing in the mayoral election which has to be re-run because he was found guilty of election fraud in May 2014.

Activist group Counterfire said it wanted to "defend democracy" in the borough, "challenge racism" and ensure "anti-racist, anti-war and anti-austerity politics find their place in the council".

Mr Rahman has consistently denied wrongdoing and announced via his website earlier this week that he would be appealing the High Court decision.

'Denial inevitable'

The disgraced mayor was part of the Tower Hamlets First party.

In his election court judgement, Commissioner Richard Mawrey predicted Mr Rahman would not accept the result.

Mr Mawrey said: "On past form it appears inevitable that Mr Rahman will denounce this judgement as yet another example of the racism and Islamophobia that have hounded him throughout his political life.

"It is nothing of the sort."

In the case, Mr Mawrey said the mayor had "driven a coach and horses through election law and didn't care".

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