London

Lutfur Rahman accused of lying repeatedly in court

Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets Image copyright PA
Image caption Lutfur Rahman told the court he had not lied

The mayor of an east London borough who is accused of electoral fraud was told in High Court he "would not know the truth" if it slapped him.

Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman has been taken to the Election Court by local voters who want his 2014 election to be declared void and re-run.

Lawyers said Mr Rahman lied in court and "over the years".

The mayor said such allegations were "not true" as his "future is right here in this courtroom".

"Why would I lie?" he asked.

'Abusive phrases'

Mr Rahman has been accused of lying about his involvement in several events leading up to his 2014 election.

He was questioned about his involvement in distributing propaganda containing lots of "abusive phrases" about his predecessor John Biggs.

But the mayor said he had "never seen" the leaflet, which also linked Mr Biggs to the British National Party and National Front.

Francis Hoar, who represents the voters bringing the case against the mayor, outlined a £35,000 overpayment to media advisers.

One adviser was also a star correspondent for local TV station Channel S, the court heard, which Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey, sitting as judge, said was like a political editor at the BBC being paid by the prime minister.

Mr Rahman also came under fire for TV adverts in Bangladeshi media that promoted himself and Tower Hamlets, the subject of multiple complaints to Ofcom.

'Not propaganda machine'

The mayor hit back, saying the appointment of a correspondent as an advisor was "apolitical" and the council "has no control" over the adverts.

Earlier in the day, claimants accused Mr Rahman of dominating the local paper East End Life, claiming 97% of its quotes came from him or members of his cabinet.

But, the independent mayor said the paper was "not a propaganda machine", adding opposition members also featured in the paper.

Four voters have mounted a legal challenge under the provisions of the Representation Of The People Act.

Lawyers for the group have made a series of allegations, including "personation" in postal voting and at polling stations, and ballot paper tampering.

The hearing continues.

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