Election 2010: Galloway names poll 'cheats'
By Keir Mudie A PACKED press conference held on top of George Galloway s Battlebus heard the controversial MP name names of people he alleges are involved in electoral fraud in Tower Hamlets. Mr Galloway, Respect candidate for Poplar and Limehouse, na
By Keir Mudie
A PACKED press conference held on top of George Galloway's 'Battlebus' heard the controversial MP 'name names' of people he alleges are involved in electoral fraud in Tower Hamlets.
Mr Galloway, Respect candidate for Poplar and Limehouse, named three local council candidates during the meeting outside the party headquarters in Club Row, Bethnal Green.
Joined by party leader Abjol Miah, Mr Galloway told a crowd of dozens of journalists and party members the name of Tower Hamlets was 'being dragged through the mud.'
He said: "Elections in this borough have been undermined by fraud for the last six years.
"We have a situation where the adding of names to the electoral roll simply defies possibility. I can take you to some of the addresses we have identified and there is simply no way 12 people can live in there, as the electoral roll claims."
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Speaking at his press conference, Mr Galloway insisted Rania Khan who is contesting Bromley-by-Bow, Shiria Khatun, who is fighting for a seat in East India and Lansbury and one other candidate had an 'implausible number of people' living at their addresses.
Mr Galloway then invited journalists on a tour of some of the addresses. After the bus was parked on Bow Road, Labour council candidate Rania Khan approached the waiting press and launched an angry denial of the allegations.
Ms Khan said: "I think it's a disgrace what he has said - it's simply not true. This is a last-ditch attempt by a party that has nothing to offer.
"There are eight people living at my address but it's a four-bedroom house.
"My mother, sister and father live there, my grandma, and me and my husband.
"We also have a room where two lodgers are staying."
Ms Khan also said some of the addresses did indeed have many people living in them but this was down to overcrowding.
She added: "One of the unfortunate facts is that there are people from Bangladesh who have come over and they are living in terrible conditions, maybe four or five to a room.
"It's a shame that even though they want to participate in our democracy people are so suspicious and make the whole process so messy."
Shiria Khatun, who is a candidate in East India and Lansbury said three more people have indeed registered to vote at her home address in Poplar.
But she said they were her two nieces and nephew who have come to help with her children and help her husband who has been staying up at night to protect his family following allegations of dirty tricks including silent phone calls and anonymous leaflets directed against her.
She added: "I absolutely refute these allegations of election fraud.
"It's up to people individually how they vote, whether they are family members or not."
In the last general election she said a family member who was living with her was actually omitted from the electoral roll.
The Advertiser has tried to contact the other named candidate but he has been unavailable.