Police are now investigating a total of 45 allegations of electoral malpractice in last week’s Tower Hamlets re-run mayoral election
Labour’s John Biggs was elected mayor in the poll last Thursday, which was ordered by the Electoral Commission after the High Court ejected Lutfur Rahman on grounds of electoral fraud and bribery during the original vote last May.
But the re-election has become embroiled in further allegations of vote rigging. The allegations received by the police included the harvesting of postal votes, the use of “ghost” voters and the improper distribution of election literature. Last week the Metropolitan Police said they were investigating 16 allegations; today the force confirmed the total has risen to 45.
The first allegation to be made was that election campaign leaflets for Rabina Khan, a former member of Rahman’s banned Tower Hamlets First party and a cabinet member for housing and development, had been distributed inside newsletters from Tower Hamlets Homes, the body that runs the borough’s housing.
Khan has repeatedly denied any knowledge of the alleged improprieties. Standing as an independent, she came second to Biggs in the vote.
Amid concerns about voters being obstructed or intimidated at polling stations during the last mayoral election, police had stepped up patrols for the re-election to “ensure canvassing by candidates’ supporters can take place properly.”
Biggs, a Tower Hamlets councillor from 1988 to 2002, was elected by decisive margin of 6,370 votes over Khan. He promised to “rebuild the reputation of Tower Hamlets as a positive, outward-looking, forward-thinking authority.”