Anti-corruption voters who ousted Lutfur Rahman at Tower Hamlets ask Theresa May to pay their legal bills
PUBLISHED: 07:26 24 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:16 24 July 2018
The prime minister has been asked to get the government to foot the £1 million legal bill for the High Court case which ousted Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman's regime for election rigging.
Leading anti-corruption campaigner Andy Erlam has delivered a letter to Downing Street asking Theresa May to use special funds to cover exceptional legal circumstances.
“This won’t set any uncomfortable precedent for the prime minister,” he told the East London Advertiser. “There are special funds—where there’s a political will, there’s always a political way.”
The 68-year-old documentary producer and his three fellow election petitioners face legal fees from their own lawyers approaching £1m, reported exclusively in the Advertiser on July 11.
The ‘rough justice’ for the four who “did the government’s dirty work for them” comes in the face of Rahman still not having paid his legal costs to the court and declaring himself bankrupt after having lost the six-week trial against him in 2015.
All the assets that Erlam and his election co-petitioners could get their hands on despite overwhelming court orders in their favour was a little terraced cottage in Bromley-by-Bow worth just £250,000 after mortgage and taxes are paid off.
Erlham wrote earlier this month to Communities & Local Government Secretary James Brokenshire asking if the government can pay their legal fees as Rahman “has escaped his responsibilities as ordered by the High Court”.
He took the case “in the public interest with no financial or political advantage expected or received”.
But now he says it seems that four ordinary citizens are expected to carry the financial burden of having got rid of a corrupt regime in east London local government.