Derby

Ranjit Banwait loses election result case

Ranjit Banwait
Image caption Former Labour Derby City Council leader Ranjit Banwait, who lost the local election in May, took a petition to court to overturn the result

A former council leader who tried to overturn the result of a local election has lost his High Court case.

Former Labour Derby City Council leader Ranjit Banwait claimed a number of UKIP leaflets sent out ahead of the 2018 local election breached electoral law.

Mr Banwait, who lost the local election in May, said the leaflets claimed he was a liar.

High Court judge Andrew Saffman rejected his appeal and ordered him to pay £23,205 in costs.

Mr Banwait claimed UKIP candidate Paul Bettany issued leaflets implying he lied about where he lived.

However, Mr Banwait said it was not a lie as Alvaston in Derby is in Wilmorton.

'Victory for me'

Judge Saffman agreed but ruled it was a political attack, not personal, and therefore did not breach electoral law.

The judge also found a leaflet produced by UKIP in 2016 that looked like it was from the Labour Party, which Mr Banwait said was recirculated ahead of the 2018 election, was fraudulent.

But as there was no evidence of this, the judge said it could not be used to justify overturning the result.

Judge Saffman said: "If this conclusion goes any way at all towards discouraging any practice of issuing leaflets in the getup of a rival party then it seems to me that it will have assisted in cleaning up the election process."

Outside court Mr Banwait said: "[The] judgement is absolutely clear that I live in Alvaston and I am not a liar, so in that sense it is a victory for me.

"I made it clear right from the start that I wasn't going to stand again. This is about justice, that I could clear my name and that I am not a liar."

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