- Posted August 18, 2014 by
London, United Kingdom
Tower Hamlets Election Fraud: Lollipops and Divine Intervention
A candidate handing out lollipops is just one of the bizarre claims made in the ongoing saga surrounding so-called ‘election fraud’ at Tower Hamlets Council. The (disputed) incident of a candidate for a council seat giving sweets to his supporters on the day of the May local elections is set to consume a considerable amount of public time and money.
August 18th marked the deadline for four local politicos to submit details for their dossier of accusations against the Council and its mayor, Lutfur Rahman. Despite having alleged nearly every possible election offence on the books, they apparently had not even provided sufficient details of their claims, let alone evidence. In addition to the supposed lollipop-based election rigging, the four complainants (whilst having dropped the majority of their claims) continue to accuse the mayor and council of voter intimidation, ballot-stuffing and other dodgy goings-on. However, these claims are denied in the strongest terms by both the Mayor and politically-neutral council workers. The Electoral Commission and the police have found no case to answer, though they did arrest a Tory council candidate over a botched manifesto.
May 2014 saw a heated election campaign in the London borough that houses nearly a quarter of a million people, with independent Lutfur Rahman beating Labour rival John Biggs by nine thousand votes in the first round. Analysts credit Lutfur’s win to his council having provided a record number of affordable homes, his support base in the local community and a groundbreaking election campaign that exploited social media enthusiastically.
Losing Labour mayoral candidate John Biggs has U-turned several times, initially saying he was satisfied with the result of the election, then getting behind the fraud allegations, and then distancing himself from the case again. But the complainants, including a failed council candidate, Labour officials and a Ukip activist, will continue to drag their litany of claims through the legal system. Many residents are concerned about the amount of taxpayers’ money and valuable council time this case will consume. Others are also asking why there continues to be such a focus from the national press on a local affair involving unproven charges.
The case continues.