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Move to sack ex-Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s 17 Tower Hamlets councillors

PUBLISHED: 12:59 20 May 2015 | UPDATED: 12:59 20 May 2015

Azmal Hussain with his petition to the Electoral Commission

Azmal Hussain with his petition to the Electoral Commission

Archant

Anti-corruption campaigner Azmal Hussain who brought down Mayor Lutfur Rahman in the High Court for election malpractice is now demanding the sacking of 17 Tower Hamlets councillors.

Azmal Hussein Azmal Hussein

His move being made today comes in the wake of election campaigns by 10 candidates for Mayor to replace Rahman on June 11 getting under way in London’s East End, after last Thursday’s deadline for nominations.

The 53-year-old Brick Lane restaurant entrepreneur was lodging a Letter of Protocol at the Electoral Commission in the City, after consulting his lawyers, to have members of the now-disbanded Tower Hamlets First party suspended and fresh by-elections held in their polling wards.

“These councillors should stand down as their party has been banned by the Election Commission,” He told the East London Advertiser last night.

“They have lost their leader and their election agent who were both barred from office. They should stand for re-election as independents.”

He is ready to take his fight to the High Court to get the councillors removed.

“I am prepared to go before a judge if the Electoral Commission turns down my Letter of Protocol,” he added.

“I have given them 14 days to respond. They have the power to suspend the councillors, but I will take an election petition to court if they don’t.

“I want honest re-run by-elections where the 17 councillors can stand again as independents — it’s not personal.”

Azmal was one of four election petitioners who got Rahman barred from Office after a High Court judgement on April 23 ruled the ousted Mayor had been responsible for his campaign supporters’ election mailpractice, voting fraud and intimidation at polling stations, as well as using religion and “racism” slurs to get votes.

One of the four petitioners was Andy Erlam, who has thrown his hat in the ring along with nine other candidates for the re-run election in three weeks’ time for the controversial executive post of Mayor, which controls Tower Hamlets’ £1.2 billion budget.

He is up against John Biggs, Labour’s London Assembly budget chairman who was returned in last week’s annual City Hall reshuffle, who lost the corrupted 2014 election for Tower Hamlets mayor to Lutfur Rahman.

The 10 candidates who have taken their campaigns onto the streets after nominations closed last Thursday also include Rahman’s own protégé Rabina Khan, a front-bench member of what was the deposed mayor’s personal cabinet, now standing as an independent.

The council’s Tory Opposition group leader Peter Golds is also in the running.

So, too, is Lib Dem’s defeated General Election candidate Elaine Bagshaw, a Financial Authority project manager who came fifth on May 7 at Poplar & Limehouse. Ukip is running with another defeated candidate from the same constituency, Nicholas McQueen, who came third.

The Greens are fielding financial journalist John Foster, while Animal Welfare campaigners are putting up Vanessa Hudson. There is also another independent, Motiur Rahman Nanu.

One polling ward, Stepney Green, is also holding a by-election the same day for a Tower Hamlets councillor to replace Alibor Choudhury, who was barred from office when the April 23 High Court judgement named him as Rahman’s “henchman” who “did his dirty work”. Seven candidates are running for ward-councillor in a contest between Labour, Conservative, Greens, Ukip, Lib Dem and two independents.

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