Labour has swept back to a dominant position on Tower Hamlets Council after gaining 20 seats in Thursday’s election, taking its total representation to 42 out of 45 – the third largest seat swing in the capital after the Liberal Democrat increases in Richmond and Kingston. The count was not completed under 2:00 a.m. this morning.
The council had previously been under No Overall Control, with the 2014 election having produced 22 Labour councillors, five Conservatives and 18 from the local Tower Hamlets First party (THF), formed around the borough’s mayor of the time Lutfur Rahman, who had been elected as an Independent in 2010.
Rahman was declared winner of the 2014 mayoral contest, but that election was made void the following year by an election court, which also disqualified Rahman from holding office for five years. The ensuing re-run in June of that year was won by Labour’s John Biggs, who comfortably retained the mayoralty in Thursday’s vote.
The election court ruling also saw THF de-listed as a political party, and the councillors elected under that name later split into two rival groups, the Peoples Alliance of Tower Hamlets (PATH) and Aspire.
Only one candidate from either of these parties, PATH leader Rabina Khan, has won a seat on the council this year. She was also runner-up in the mayoral election. The Conservatives won two seats, down from five in 2014.
Labour has won majorities on Tower Hamlets council at all but three of the 15 borough elections held since the first in 1964. The other two years when it failed to win were 1986 and 1990, when the Liberal Democrats secured control.
When Labour won power back in 1994, it was under the leadership of Biggs, with the party picking up an extra 24 seats to take its total to 43, removing a BNP councillor – the first to be elected in Britain – and reducing the Lib Dems to seven seats on what was then a 50-seat council.
A full list of the 2018 London Council election results is here.