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Local Elections: Newham elects Rokhsana Fiaz to be its mayor

PUBLISHED: 12:43 04 May 2018 | UPDATED: 13:17 04 May 2018

Ian Mckenzie helped orchestrate Rokhsana's successful election campaign to become Newham's mayor. Picture: Rhiannon Long

Ian Mckenzie helped orchestrate Rokhsana's successful election campaign to become Newham's mayor. Picture: Rhiannon Long

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Newham has just become the first London borough to have a directly elected woman mayor.

Conservative candidate Rahima Khan with Lib Dems' Gareth Evans. Picture: Rhiannon LongConservative candidate Rahima Khan with Lib Dems' Gareth Evans. Picture: Rhiannon Long

Rokhsana Fiaz, who has been a councillor for Custom House since 2014, won with 53,214 votes – 73.4 per cent. 35.84 per cent of Newham turned out to vote.

Ms Fiaz will replace Sir Robin Wales, who was deselected after 16 years in the post. At his last election, he received 61 per cent of the votes.

She said: “Wow. It’s mind-blowing. It says to me two things about Newham - one, the amount of trust and hope they have in the Labour Party, and the fact that we have been accelerating over the last couple of years since Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

“Eight years of devestation by Tory cuts is showing with wins like this. I think it reflects the confidence of the people in Labour’s ability to lead a council in the face of these cuts.

“I would like to sincerely thank all of you who voted - I feel so privileged. You can trust me to deliver everything I have pledged, and I want you to hold me to account. I am your public servant and we need to have meaningful conversations, in which I involve you, to improve our borough.”

Ms Fiaz’s priority will be housing, with her pledging to build 1,000 council owned homes at social rent levels by 2022, and promising half the homes built by developers to be at social rent levels.

She’s also pledging to double the number of youth hubs in the borough in a bid to get kids off the streets and away from violence, and she’ll be opposing further academisation and the Silvertown Tunnel scheme.

“My major priority for the administration will be running democracy differently. I will ensure we remain a party that works with its people and keep healthy dialogue. I will be driving a positive agenda, not a negative one.”

She’ll be holding a referendum on her own job role, promising to improve council transparency with a vote on the directly elected mayoral system by 2021.

Newham is one of four London boroughs in which mayors are elected directly by the voters.

Newham Council has been under Labour control since its creation in 1964. In the 2010 election, all 60 seats were won by Labour. The results of yesterday’s vote will be announced this afternoon – keep checking The Recorder’s website and Twitter for updates.

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