Search

Tower Hamlets named by Election Commission for voting fraud danger

17:13 14 January 2014

Politicians from both ends of the spectrum have welcomed a report by the Election Commission exposing vote fraud in London’s East End.

It follows Tower Hamlets being named as the only London borough at risk of vote-rigging, along with 15 local authority areas up and down the country including Birmingham—scene of a notorious ballot-rigging case in 2004 which a judge said would “disgrace a banana republic”.

The commission’s study looked into concerns that some South Asian communities with roots in parts of Bangladesh and Pakistan were susceptible to electoral fraud.

It is now calling for all voters to show identity at polling stations.

But Tower Hamlets Opposition council members say it doesn’t go far enough.

Tory Group leader Peter Golds said: “There are 14 indicators of potential election fraud which are covered by law as corrupt and illegal practices—all have been seen in recent elections in Tower Hamlets.

“This report will not prevent fraud happening here in May. Now is the time for police to make sure fraud doesn’t impact the elections.”

The Electoral Commission’s report comes a month after independent Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s re-election campaign came under fire from Labour over allegations of using council resources.

Labour Group Leader Sirajul Islam said: “Requiring voters to provide identity seems sensible. Any steps to tighten voting and clamp down on electoral fraud are welcome.”

John Biggs, the party’s candidate for Mayor who challenges Rahman at the polls in May, said: “People should be vigilant against those who may want to steal their votes. This issue needs strong and honest leadership from politicians.”

But Mayor Rahman hit back at Labour claiming that a journalist in 2010 was beaten up attempting to question one of its candidates about why 12 adults were registered to vote at his three-bedroom home.

Tower Hamlets council has since tightened its Code of Practice. Police and council enforcement officers are being located at designated voting areas in May’s local elections and are keeping watch outside polling stations for any crowds gathering and to report any intimidation.

Mayor Rahman said: “We have robust systems in place and will come down on anyone attempting electoral fraud like a ton of bricks.”

Vote-rigging first came to light in the East End in 2005 and again in 2010, where ‘drop mail’ addresses were uncovered being used to register bogus postal ballots.

The Electoral Commission proposes restricting candidates and campaigners from handling postal votes, the issue at the centre of allegations when Respect MP George Galloway was ousted at the polls.

The number of registered voters in Tower Hamlets shot up more than 6,000 in the five months before the 2010 elections. Another 7,000 names had been added on polling day itself.

The Commission was asked to investigate seven addresses in Bethnal Green and Bow with dubious listings — two with 19 voters, four flats nearby with 33 voters between them and a council flat with 19 names registered.

The scam was described by Galloway in a letter to the borough police commander as “widespread voting fraud on an industrial scale.”

Latest East London News Stories

55 minutes ago
MP Jim Fitzpatrick backing Parliamentary launch of Sepsis awareness campaign [photo: Ayub Khan]

MP Jim Fitzpatrick is backing a public awareness campaign about Sepsis, a life-threatening and relatively unknown deadly condition which claims 44,000 lives a year in Britain alone—including a-thousand children.

Yesterday, 08:36
Jailed motor-scooter bandits... John Smith (left) and Shemar Williams

Two teenage motor-scooter bandits who carried out a terrifying string of 34 violent robberies across east London—mostly at night—have reached the end of the road and are spending the Bank Holiday and the next 10 years in jail.

Yesterday, 07:00
UEL design student Charles Caldron with his 'skier rescue' ideas

An enterprising student at the University of East London is combining his passion for skiing and talent for design by inventing a unique safety device to help rescue skiers trapped in avalanches.

Sunday, May 1, 2016
A-Level science pupils from Tower Hamlets College visit Hadron particle collider in Geneva

Students from London’s East End have been on a “collision course” to uncover how the universe begin at the world-famous Hadron collider in Switzerland.

Sunday, May 1, 2016
Owen Flanders

Signal maintenance engineer Owen Flanders is steaming ahead for a senior career on the railways and has taken part in a campaign to recruit 150 more Network Rail apprentices.

Friday, April 29, 2016
Jonathan Goldstein, Cain Hoy’s chief executive; Ed Vaizey MP, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy; and Heather Knight, the senior archaeologist leading the dig on behalf of MOLA at the launch of The Stage dig (Picture: Adrian Pope)

Archaeologists have begun excavating one of Shakespeare’s lesser known playhouses – the Curtain Theatre where Henry V was first performed.

Friday, April 29, 2016
Susan Hiller in conversation at the Hayward Gallery in 2006 [photo by Jack Goffe]

An old wishing well has made a wish come true for east London’s Bow Arts’ Nunnery Gallery—to get on a national a shortlist of venues to stage an event with world-renowned artist Susan Hiller.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
Abdi's police mugshot

A serial rapist who spent six months preying on East End women as old as 75 has been locked up for life.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Author Anne Fine (inset) promoting Silentnight writing competition

Children’s author Anne Fine is inviting youngsters to put pen to paper for a national Sleepy Stories writing competition.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe