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East End returning officer admits delay in count is a 'nightmare'

PUBLISHED: 08:05 07 May 2010 | UPDATED: 15:59 05 October 2010

AS COUNTERS ploughed on with their verification of three sets of ballot papers nine hours after the polls closed even the Tower Hamlets returning officer Kevan Collins described the delays as a nightmare . Council workers are still checking ballot pap

AS COUNTERS ploughed on with their verification of three sets of ballot papers nine hours after the polls closed even the Tower Hamlets returning officer Kevan Collins described the delays as "a nightmare".

Council workers are still checking ballot papers for Bethnal Green and Bow, whilst the pressure is on to start counting Poplar and Limehouse to get one parliamentary result soon.

Tory insiders blame the Respect party for adding to the number of ballot papers which had to be counted by forcing a mayoral referendum.

There have also been grumbles that the Mile End Leisure Centre is not the best venue for the count, York Hall in Bethnal Green and East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf have been mooted as more suitable places as they have more space fro the counts.

With a combined electorate of 84,000 in the two seats and an estimated turnout of 70 per cent voting in the general and council elections and also in the mayoral referendum counters have a lot of ballot papers to deal with.

Poplar and Limehouse candidate Andrew Osborne had managed to grab some sleep in his vehicle whilst Respect's George Galloway and the Conservative's Tim Archer have yet to put in an appearance at the count.

The Lib Dem's Jonathan Fryer has headed off to west London to do an interview with the BBC.

Meanwhile Rushanara Ali the Labour candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow has yet to come to the leisure centre, but no doubt has been working on her acceptance speech as she is strongly tipped to win and become the first Bangladeshi MP at Westminster.


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