An east London mayor has been removed from office and a poll declared void after he was found guilty of electoral fraud.
An Election Commissioner concluded Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman breached election rules and must vacate his post immediately.
Four voters alleged he used “corrupt and illegal practices” in last year’s election, which must now be re-run.
Mr Rahman, who denied any wrong-doing, has been banned from standing again.
Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey said it was a big mess, caused by one guy’s ruthless ambition.
Mawrey also described Bangladesh-born Mr Rahman as an “evasive and discursive witness whose evidence was untruthful on occasion” and suggested he had played “race” and “religious” cards.
Mr Rahman ran a “ruthless and dishonest campaign to convince electorate his rival John Biggs was a racist”, Mr Mawrey said.
That sounds familiar. It sounds like George Galloway, among others.
BBC News correspondent Sarah Campbell said the Election Commissioner had upheld a number of the allegations, including:
- Voting fraud: ballots were double-cast or cast from false addresses
- False statements made against Mr Rahman’s rival Mr Biggs
- Bribery: grants approved to organisations which Mr Rahman favoured, most of which were run by Bangladeshi groups
- Treating: providing free food and drink to encourage people to vote for Mr Rahman
- Spiritual influence: voters were told that it was their duty as Muslims to vote for Mr Rahman.
That’s interesting. I wonder if that allegation has ever been made about an Anglican candidate, and if so if it has ever succeeded. In the US candidates do that as a matter of routine, of course.
[T]he Election Commissioner said that Tower Hamlets First was “never really a party but the alter ego of Lutfur Rahman”.
Again, reminiscent of Galloway and “Respect.” And some other examples I can think of.