Tower Hamlets election inquiry: Mayor Rahman accused of wasting £50k on failed appeal

By Rob Virtue on July 30, 2014 9:19 AM |

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Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman is claiming petitioners contesting his election win have "no evidence" despite High Court judges giving the go-ahead to an inquiry into the vote.

And petitioners have accused the mayor and the election's returning officer John Williams of squandering money on the unsuccessful appeal.

Andy Erlam, one of four Tower Hamlets residents pushing for the inquiry, said after Tuesday's High Court result: "Disgracefully, £50,000 was wasted today by the Mayor and Returning Officer trying unsuccessfully to get the petition thrown out. The judges firmly rejected their ploy.

"A selfish clique has completely taken over the political machine in Tower Hamlets and the petitioners are determined to make them accountable."

The High Court judges have given the petitioners until August 18 to develop stronger evidence. The petitioners have appealed for more statements from witnesses and money to help fund legal costs.

The petitioners claim in May's controversial election there were incidents of people illegally pretending to be voters, ghost voting, making false statements about another candidate, paying canvassers and intimidation.

Following the High Court decision, Mr Rahman said: "There is simply no evidence to substantiate that the recent elections results were due to fraud and intimidation. It is clear that these complaints are being generated by disgruntled candidates who lost and the court has recognised this by not granting them a protected costs order.

"I am completely confident that at the end of this process such claims will be exposed for the smears that they are."