1. Police are investigating claims of criminality
Police are being urged to investigate whether any criminality took place during Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s five-year tenure at the Tower Hamlets Town Hall. A Met statement last night said the force has noted the judgment and would consider the 200-page report. Previously, the police had found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing of the kind that the judge said had taken place.
2. The Crown Prosecution Service too 'should look at charges'
One of the petitioners who brought the case Andy Erlam said: “The police have never properly investigated what has been going on - I urge them to do that. And we want the Crown Prosecution Service to consider all the evidence and see whether charges should be brought.”
3. The next election
The likely date for the next mayoral election is Thursday, June 11. It is likely defeated Labour candidate John Biggs will stand again and would be the immediate front-runner.
4. Lutfur Rahman is literally banned from his office
The disgraced former mayor has reportedly had his Town Hall pass rescinded and is no longer able to access the Town Hall, Poplar. Police briefly increased their presence there, fearing a possible backlash to the ruling.
5. Mr Rahman will pay a heavy cost
Mr Rahman was ordered to pay £250,000 in costs in a trial that is estimated to have run up a legal bill of £1million. He isbeing reported to the Solictors Regulation Authority which has the power to bar him from practising. Mr Rahman was a family solicitor before he was a full-time politician.
6. The police themselves are now in the spotlight
The Met Police themselves are under scrutiny for what Judge Richard Mawrey called the “three wise monkey” approach to policing the ballot – “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”.
7. Cllr Peter Golds is an unsung hero of the case
Isle of Dogs councillor Peter Golds, leader of the Conservative group, who was praised for his tenacity in tackling mayoral malpractice in the judgment, said: “It’s a landmark, an absolute landmark. There will be real culture shock because he has been thrown out. His reputation is in tatters.” He also wants the role of the police to be examined further.
8. Ken Livingstone is not giving up on his pal
Lutfur ally Ken Livingstone has ridden to the former mayor’s defence, pouring scorn on the Election Petition process. He said: “The decision of the voters to put Lutfur Rahman there shouldn’t be overturned by an unelected bureaucrat unless he is arrested.”
9. Eric Pickles says he was right to intervene
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said in a statement that the “judgment vindicates our action to intervene”. He said: “The police also need to take steps to stop further corrupt practices following this damning judgment. We must also challenge those who seek to spread further division in light of the ruling. There can be no place for rotten boroughs in 21st century Britain.’
10. The vociferous Rahman supporters have fallen silent
On the streets of Tower Hamlets, there has been no noticeable reaction. Rahman’s allies and supporters have expressed their sadness and dismay but there was nothing like the tumult that occurred on the night of the election itself in May 2014.
11. The election petitioners withstood tremendous pressures
The election petitioners, Andy Erlam, 64, Angela Moffat, 47, Azmal Hussein, 63, and Debbie Simone, 44 faced a “potentially devastating” legal bill if they lost. “Curry king” Mr Hussain said “I was standing to face huge costs and that is not to mention the pressure I have been put under since all this started. It has been tough and it has had a big impact on my life.” The judge commended them for taking a decision that would inevitably lead to accusations of racism.
12. The Labour Party won't be gloating
The Labour Party have not emerged from the hearing with any laurels. The judge attacked the original decision to kick out Lutfur Rahman from the party (“Mr Rahman’s treatment by the NEC was, by any standards, utterly shameful and wholly unworthy of the party.’) He also expressed surprise that it was left to ordinary citizens to take on the case rather than the opposition. The judge noted this was probably due to the cost and a fear of being branded “Islamophobic”.
13. The right-wing EDL were a bizarre boon to Mr Rahman
The right-wing English Defence League (EDL) was a useful tool for Mr Rahman, Mr Mawrey suggested. The organisation – which attempted to stage marches in the borough – enabled Mr Rahman to argue that anyone who criticised him was “giving aid” to the EDL. He said: “This enables Mr Rahman and his cohorts to argue as follows: criticisms of Mr Rahman by his political opponents are adopted and repeated by the EDL: the EDL is a racist organisation: therefore anyone who criticises Mr Rahman is giving aid and comfort to the EDL.”
14. Mr Rahman made a bit of legal history
Judge Richard Mawrey urged The Law Commission would take a close look at the judgment as it weighed up possible reforms to electoral law. These were mainly centred on “spiritual influence”. Mr Rahman is the first person since the 19th century to be found guilty of the Victorian-era misdeed of unlawfully using religious influence.
15. Tower Hamlets First party has imploded
Election commissioner Mr Mowrey said: “The evidence in this case all points in one direction. THF was the personal fiefdom of Mr Rahman. He directed its operations, he selected his candidates, and those candidates campaigned on the basis that their job, if elected, was to give personal support to him. THF had no other aim, objective or ideology beyond the continuation of Mr Rahman in the office of Mayor of Tower Hamlets.”
16. The disgraced mayor's life and career is in tatters
Mr Rahman is considering appealing against the ruling in a judicial review, which would look at the process of the case rather than its content. However, such a move would be expensive and a longshot as the judgment was clear and damning.