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North Lincolnshire Council chief executive, Michael Garnett, who was the ...
North Lincolnshire Council chief executive, Michael Garnett, who was the

returning officer at the local election count at the Baths Hall in

Scunthorpe on 1 and 2 May 2003 said the council noted today's legal ruling

and would cooperate fully with the court.

'The council will cooperate at every stage of the process, as we have since

the election result was declared in the contested seat in the Broughton and

Appleby ward on North Lincolnshire Council.

'I want to make it clear that the count was carried out professionally and

that my decision, as returning officer, that the disputed vote could not be

verified within the powers open me, was the correct interpretation. Only

the judge has that power. The judge has felt it necessary to issue this

order today.

'The judge made it clear there was no suggestion of any impropriety at any

time during the count. This is extremely reassuring as it protects the good

name and reputation of North Lincolnshire Council and its officers.'


Today's ruling does not itself affect the political

composition on the council, which after the election count in May 2003

resulted in a change of administration on North Lincolnshire Council. The

Conservatives hold 22 seats and Labour 21, on a 43 member council.

The next stage, following today's court ruling, is for a recount of the

contested seat to be held on 29 July 2003 at the Court of Justice in

London. The recount, under the jurisdiction of the court will begin at

10.30am. There will then be a report compiled with a final court decision

made in September. On 29 July the court will trace the declaration of

identity to establish if the contested ballot paper was signed.

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