Search

Commission cuts returning officer’s fees for Tower Hamlets’ tainted election

PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 October 2015

Former returning officer John Williams (inset) at Tower Hamlets Council

Former returning officer John Williams (inset) at Tower Hamlets Council

Archant

The returning officer overseeing last year’s tainted elections for Tower Hamlets council and mayor and the local count for the EU Parliament has had his fees slashed after a scathing judgement by the Electoral Commission.

Its judgement on John Williams—held back a year because of ex-Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s malpractice scandal that rocked the Town Hall—found that he did not meet performance standards.

The Commission blamed “inadequate resources” for verifying and counting ballot papers.

“Delivering verification and count was severely delayed,” a Commission statement said. “But it did achieve an accurate result in a transparent manner.”

The electorate having confidence that their votes will be counted in the way they intended was not met, the findings reveal. Candidates standing for election also did not have confidence in the results, nor that the counting was well-managed.

But John Williams did meet the Commission’s performance standards at the 2014 election for mayor that was won by Rahman—although this was later overturned in the High Court.

He agreed with the Commission’s assessment and a reduction in fees for the EU poll, taking a cut of £1,105 from his £8,843 fee, a 12.5 per cent reduction.

The Commission delayed its findings until after the High Court judgement against Rahman, which banned him from office in April for five years.

The probe over how the 2014 election was managed—with its voter intimidation and postal ballots being intercepted and scammed—followed complaints led by the Tory Opposition on the council.

They wrote to the Commission about “the embarrassing count” following the decision to use the “inadequate” Mile End leisure centre and Troxy venue.

Group leader Peter Golds’ letter said: “This borough and its electoral failures became an international joke with the President of the European Parliament commenting that one single local authority was holding up the election result.”

Cllr Golds had already pointed out that failures in the 2009 count also led to a long delay for the London result in that year’s EU polls “caused by an unsuitable venue and non-transparent and complicated counting system”.

But these failed systems and venues were used again in 2014 “with even more embarrassing consequences”.

Latest East London News Stories

18:00

Optician director Jayesh Maru has seen his way to the ancient mountain-top Inca capital of Machu Picchu and has found his way back to east London.

13:36

Children have spent four years researching the life of a pupil at their school more than 100 years ago who was later awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously after being killed in the First World War.

09:54

Small businesses occupying railway arches in east London facing crippling rent rises as much as 350 per cent have been promised a tenants’ charter to safeguard their trading.

09:00

The indie/folk band Bon Iver will close the second All Points East festival with a headline gig in Victoria Park on Sunday June 2.

Yesterday, 18:00

Live TV cameras are going behind the scenes at the Royal London Hospital to record how surgeons operate.

Yesterday, 15:41

A serving East London police officer in the has been found guilty of allowing laundered money to be held in his bank account.

Yesterday, 07:00

NHS staff at hospitals across east London are almost twice as likely to be victims of abuse as the national average, according to the results of an England-wide healthcare survey.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Seafarers past and present fell silent in Tower Hamlets this morning to remember those killed and lost in war, commemorating a century since Armistice Day.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Are you a landlord looking for a fixed rental income, paid whether the property is empty or not? Steve Westley, general manager at estate agents Elliot Leigh, explains their Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it takes the stress out of letting your property.

Newsletter Sign Up

East London Advertiser twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now