Sir Robin Wales, Labour’s longest-serving Mayor, has been ousted as the party’s mayoral candidate in Newham after local party members decided to back rival Rokhsana Fiaz.
Fiaz won 861 votes to Sir Robin’s 503 votes. It brings to an end his 23-year leadership in the East London borough.
The result will be seen as a victory for Jeremy Corbyn’s wing of the party - although supporters of Fiaz point out she appealed to the breadth of the party who were fed up with one individual ruling for so long.
Conceding defeat, Sir Robin said being mayor had been “a great privilege” and that if Fiaz stuck to his plans the council would remain “financially stable”.
Crucially the ballot was only open to Labour members who joined before July 2016 - prior to big surge in pro-Corbyn members.
Following the announcement of the result, Fiaz tweeted: “We’ve won! My deepest thanks to all those Labour Party members in Newham who voted for me to be Labour’s candidate for
#NewhamMayor. Let’s now win for @UKLabour & Newham in May!”
In a statement, Fiaz said she wanted to thank Labour Party members for “putting their trust and hope” in her.
“I can’t wait to start working with members and residents to build a Newham that offers homes for our residents and a future for all our young people,” she said.
“I’d like to thank Robin for his commitment and dedication to Newham as both leader of the Council and directly elected Mayor. I look forward to working with him over the coming months to build on his legacy.
She added: “Let’s unite and work together for Labour’s success at the local elections in May. It’s time to be truly radical again and show what Labour can achieve for the many here in Newham.”
Sir Robin said: “I would like to congratulate Rokhsana for her successful campaign.
“Being a Labour Mayor has been a great privilege and I want to thank all of those who have been with me throughout this journey, and all of those that helped on my campaign.
“I am so proud of everything that my administration has achieved.
“When I was first elected, Newham was a borough with high unemployment and poverty. Thanks to what we have done — informed by our Labour values — unemployment has drastically dropped, poverty has declined and education results are at an all time high.
“Together, with my Labour colleagues, we have filled 35,000 jobs with local residents, prosecuted more criminal landlords than the rest of London combined and made sure no child goes hungry at school by being the first council to introduce universal free school meals for primary children.
“This campaign revealed the challenges that Labour in local government are facing — from housing to severe Tory budget cuts — but also the difference that Labour can make in power.
“We have frozen the regressive Council Tax for 10 years in a row, avoided the failed out-sourcing model, and made no cuts to front-line services. If the plans that I put in place are continued, the Council will remain financially stable and ensure the burden of Tory cuts are not lout onto the people of Newham.”
In an interview with HuffPost UK last month, Fiaz accused Sir Robin of “dog whistle” tactics after he blamed “community politics” for irregular sign-ups of Labour members determined to unseat him.
But Sir Robin hit back at critics of his leadership in the London borough, and warned that Tower Hamlets showed what happened when some minority ethnic party activists separated residents rather than brought them together.