Door-to-door probe by Tower Hamlets to stop any by-election votes fraud

Your vote, Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive

Your vote, Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Door-to-door enquiries are being carried out to make sure next month’s Tower Hamlets council by-election in London’s East End is not plagued by voting fraud.

The council’s Electoral Services officers have been touring the Blackwall and Cubitt Town ward, street by street, to make sure those on the Electoral Register genuinely live at the addresses.

It follows years of allegations of postal-vote irregularities after the 2006 and 2010 elections across Tower Hamlets when hundreds of names were found to be false.

Tower Hamlets Returning Officer John Williams said this week: “We are working to respond to all allegations received and are referring issues for investigation where necessary. The visits are part of the process of enabling trust in local elections.”

Investigations after the 2010 elections found 6,000 names had been added to the Electoral Roll in the run-up to voting, with another thousand added by Polling Day itself.

Six addresses in Bromley-by-Bow alone had suspect listings, including a house in Rainhill Way with 13 voters registered and four flats in nearby Limscott House with 33 voters registered between them.

This time, Town Hall bosses are determined the July 3 Blackwall & Cubitt Town by-election won’t be tainted by fraud allegations, with enforcement officers and staff working with police to block any malpractice.

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The by-election has been caused by the sudden death of one candidate just 24 hours before the May 22 poll, when Hifzur Rahman died from heart attack.

Three seats are up for grabs which could tip the scales in the council chamber, with Labour currently neck-and-neck with mayor Lutfur Rahman’s Tower Hamlets First group with 18 seats each, and a small balance of four Tory-held seats.

All three main national parties, Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats—along with mayor Rahman’s party—are running three candidates each.

So, too, are UKIP which did well at the polls across the country, although badly in east London, and the Greens. Trade union socialists are fielding just two and there is one independent.

Tories are fighting hard for the ward in the shadow of Canary Wharf, after losing a sitting councillor on May 22 in the neighbouring Island Gardens ward on the Isle of Dogs.