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Commissioners sent to Tower Hamlets get tougher powers

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has extended the powers of the commissioners sent into Tower Hamlets last year to "clean up this rotten administration".

Eric Pickles Credit: PA

They previously had power over grants, contracts and electoral administration. But the Tory minister has decided it is necessary to widen their remit in light of Lutfur Rahman's conviction.

He was ordered to step down as mayor of Tower Hamlets last week after a judge found him guilty of corrupt and illegal practices following a High Court hearing.

Lutfur Rahman Credit: PA

Commissioners can now intervene in any area they deem necessary and that the acting mayor - previously the deputy mayor - will not be able to do anything they judge to be inappropriate in the run-up the by-election.

Ken Livingstone stands by disgraced Tower Hamlets Mayor

Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone says if Lutfur Rahman has broken the law, he should be arrested Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Archive

Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, a long-time supporter of Lutfur Rahman has criticised the Election Commissioner's decision to throw the Tower Hamlets Mayor out of office.

Speaking to LBC radio Mr Livingstone said, "If he broke a law why haven't the police arrested and charged him?"

Of the Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey he commented, "[He is an] unelected bureaucrat overturning the result of an election. I think this is very, very worrying.

"If he's done something wrong have him arrested. Put him on trial. I hope Lutfur will appeal because in all my dealings with him I've never seen anything dodgy."

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Lutfur Rahman to go before elections court

Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets Credit: PA

Lutfur Rahman, Britain's first directly-elected Muslim mayor, is due to go before the elections court today.

He is accused of fraud in the run-up to the Tower Hamlets mayoral election in May 2014.

Tower Hamlets First says the Mayor's top priority is continuing to provide high quality public services for residents.

The election could be re-run if Mr Rahman is found guilty.

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Election Court hears of 'appalling' behaviour of Tower Hamlets Mayor's supporters

Lutfur Rahman has been accused of 'electoral fraud'. Credit: PA

A Labour candidate who stood in the Tower Hamlets election last year has told a special Election Court that she was 'appalled' by the behaviour of supporters belonging to the party set up by the winning mayor Lutfur Rahman.

Victoria Obaze, who was standing in the Stepney Green ward, submitted a witness statement in which she said she saw supporters of the Tower Hamlets First Party blocking the way into a polling station so the police had to be called three times. She said she also the activists accompanying voters into the polling station to show them how to vote.

The trial begun after four people from Tower Hamlets made a series of allegations about the way the Tower Hamlets First party operated. Mayor Rahman has said there is 'little if any' evidence against him.

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