Rahman back in High Court to overturn ban as Tower Hamlets mayor

PUBLISHED: 11:53 17 May 2017 | UPDATED: 12:03 17 May 2017

Lutfur Rahman... banned Tower Hamlets ex-mayor. Picture: MIKE BROOKE

Lutfur Rahman... banned Tower Hamlets ex-mayor. Picture: MIKE BROOKE

Mike Brooke

Former Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman, barred from for office for five years in 2015 for corrupt practices, is back in the High Court today in a bid to overturn his ban.

Tower Hamlets Council Picture: MIKE BROOKETower Hamlets Council Picture: MIKE BROOKE

He has already failed one attempt to challenge election commissioner Richard Mawrey’s rulings two years ago over election bribery.

But judges gave him permission for a judicial review on the ruling that religious leaders had been persuaded to use influence on voters in the 2014 election that returned him to office as mayor.

His five-year ban would remain, however, even if he succeeded in overturning that one aspect of the ruling, judge said.

Anti-corruption campaigner Andy Erlam brought Mayor Rahman down over election riggingAnti-corruption campaigner Andy Erlam brought Mayor Rahman down over election rigging

Anti-corruption campaigners led by writer and film-maker Andy Erlam took legal action under the Representation of The People Act, which brought the Rahman administration down in 2015.

Andy told the East London Advertiser today: “The Met Police and the director of public prosecutions have joined us in opposing Rahman’s application for a judicial review. The Electoral Commission has decided not to be involved—we have no idea why.”

Rahman’s lawyers described the group’s claims of “personation” in postal voting and at polling stations and ballot paper tampering as “invention, exaggeration and false allegations”.

Petitioner Andy Erlam.Picture: MIKE BROOKEPetitioner Andy Erlam.Picture: MIKE BROOKE

Judge Mawrey made findings against Rahman of bribery after concluding that canvassers had been paid, grants had been given to Bangladeshi or Muslim groups in return for support and council money had been used to pay a Bangladeshi language TV station which gave supporting coverage.

Evidence at the 2015 trial revealed an “alarming state of affairs” in Tower Hamlets.

The 2014 election was declared void and re-run a year later, won by Labour’s John Biggs.

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