John Biggs AM City & East is not a sore loser providing the vote was fair


- Credit: Archant

Having failed to become Mayor, I am busily throwing myself back into my work at City Hall. And there is plenty to do. For a candidate an election is a very public, and thrilling, adventure. But afterwards normal life goes on. And in a democracy we live with the result.

However, since election day I have met many unhappy people. Not because they didn’t ‘get their way’ but because they felt something just wasn’t right. I think it’s my job to accept the result, unless there is clear evidence something is seriously wrong. Otherwise it is right to talk about ‘sore losers’. A challenge could be divisive, and would cost a lot of money. It is in my opinion our job to support and work with our Mayor, and help him to do a good job, unless we are certain that a bigger question needs answering.

But the questions didn’t go away. Indeed they grew. And so a couple of weeks ago an ‘Election Petition’ was sent to the High Court, challenging the result. Of the four petitioners, only one is known well by me, and she didn’t tell me until after she had done it! The Petition asks a judge to create an ‘Election Court’ to consider a challenge to the result. The Court can then decide what should be done. Most petitions fail but they occasionally lead to a new election.

The challenge has three main points. First, that there were voting irregularities, particularly the misuse or ‘farming’ of postal votes. Second, that there were false statements against a particular candidate (me!) which unfairly affected the result. Third, that the counting of votes was so chaotic and poorly managed that uncertainty remains about the result.

I remain a good loser, provided it was a good competition. But I am becoming clearer by the day that, remarkably, in this ‘mother of democracies’, it may be that the election was, shall we say, bent. Certainly, a lot of people think so. It is of public interest to find out and restore faith in our system, for everyone in Tower Hamlets, and beyond.