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UPDATED: Tower Hamlets mayor faces election inquiry

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A full inquiry is to be held into the mayoral election result at Tower Hamlets LBC, a court has ruled.

This morning’s ruling came after a group of four petitioners challenged the result of May’s mayoral election.

Their petition alleges Mr Rahman “and/or his agents” were guilty of electoral fraud including impersonation, casting votes in the name of people not entitled to vote and acquiring voting papers and casting them fraudulently.

It claims the council’s returning officer John Williams permitted agents of Mr Rahman to unlawfully enter polling stations and leave campaign materials in polling booths.

It states Mr Williams allowed mayoral supporters who were not entitled to be present to attend and impede the count.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Mr Rahman, who represents the Tower Hamlets First party, had tried to have the petitioners’ challenge thrown out.

But Mr Justice Supperstone and Mr Justice Spencer said the petition was “not a nullity”.

They asked the petitioners, led by Andy Erlam who stood in May’s election for the Red Flag Anti-Corruption Party, to submit full details of their allegations by 18 August.

Mr Rahman denies any wrongdoing.

A Tower Hamlets spokesman said the authority “look[ed] forward” to responding to the petitioners’ allegations once these were set out by 18 August.

He said the council was “glad” that judges rejected a call from the petitioners for the inquiry to take place outside Tower Hamlets.

“We have made clear that we strongly reject the allegations in the petition about the returning officer’s conduct of the election,” he said.

“The returning officer’s role is neutral and non-political and the aim is to provide free and fair election results.

“Tower Hamlets introduced a strong local protocol against fraud and intimidation for the May elections, recognised by the Electoral Commission in a report this month as one of the toughest in the country.”

A date for the inquiry has not been set. Reports by Court News UK said it could take place in Tower Hamlets town hall.

 

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