Lucy Lips, April 20th 2012, 8:56 am

The East London Advertiser reports:

Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s nominated independent candidate Gulam Robbani took the seat with 1,030 votes.

Robbani, one of the Mayor’s former aides who had been contracted to advise him on social care before quitting in February, beat Labour’s Ala Uddin into second place by just 47 votes out of a total 2,315 cast.

Labour had pinned its hopes on former council deputy leader Uddin to retake the seat it lost when Cllr Shelina Akhtar, who won it for them in 2010, defected last year to Mayor Rahman’s independent administration.

The by-election was caused by Akhtar being jailed in January for council benefit fraud.

The Mayor was out campaigning himself in the week, door-knocking with Robbani who is now almost certain to be offered a place in his cabinet.

Conservatives came third and Greens fourth, pushing Lib Dems into fifth place.

The results:

Gulam Robbani (independent) – 1,030 [elected]

Ala Uddin (Labour) – 987

Matthew Smith (Conservative) – 140

Kirsty Blake (Green) – 99

Richard Macmillan (Liberal Democrat) – 39

The turn-our was 31 per cent.

If Ken Livingstone wins, the case he will make – forcefully – within the Labour Party, is that the party should adopt a “Bradford Spring” strategy, in order to win seats such as these.

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