Tower Hamlets election result taken to High Court

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Media captionLegal bid to re-run Tower Hamlets mayoral election

A petition calling for last month's mayoral election in Tower Hamlets to be held again has been submitted to the High Court.

The Red Flag Anti-Corruption Party has accused Lutfur Rahman's party of electoral fraud, corruption and political smears.

His opponents claim voters were intimidated at polling stations and that some were told how to vote.

The mayor has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Speaking to BBC London 94.9 on Tuesday, the mayor, who was re-elected on 22 May, said: "I have done, and we have done, nothing wrong."

The petition has been brought by four people who are now applying for a hearing at the High Court.

It claims:

  • Votes were cast in the name of people not entitled to be on the electoral register
  • Voting papers were acquired and then marked in favour of Mr Rahman,
  • Canvassers were paid to stand outside polling stations to hand out leaflets and persuade people to vote for Rahman
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Met stationed an officer at each polling station on 22 May

Allegations have also been made against returning officer John Williams.

He is alleged to have allowed people to canvas for votes inside polling stations, to accompany voters into the compartment when they cast their vote and to leave campaign material in and around voting compartments.

Police investigation

Andy Elram, Red Flag party member who stood against Mr Rahman in the election, said: "If the court decides there should be a recount and the numbers don't add up, they're not consistent, then the court has the power to order another election."

Mr Williams has said he will not comment specifically on the petition as he is taking legal advice.

However, he says the measures he put in place for the elections were the toughest available within the current law.

He added that he worked closely with the Metropolitan Police and the Electoral Commission to combat fraud and to investigate fully any allegations that had surfaced.

This petition is the latest in a series of investigations into Tower Hamlets.

The Metropolitan Police is investigating 84 complaints into the election. It said in the majority of cases, no criminal offences had been committed.

Separately, the government is looking into claims made by BBC One's Panorama programme that the mayor had disproportionately funded Bengali groups in order to get their vote in his first term in office.

The Electoral Commission has also launched a review into the count.

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