It has been revealed that nearly half of the 17,000 signatures collected in a referendum calling for an elected mayor for Tower Hamlets were declared invalid.
Out of nearly 7,000 signatures deemed invalid, 2, 094 instances had no recognisable name; 3, 408 cases had names that did not appear on the electoral register and 788 instances had not supplied an address.
Over 600 signatories were registered, but did not reside in the borough. Ten gave no signature and 14 were under 18 years of age, meaning they were ineligible to vote.
The Respect Party, who organised the vote, rejected accusations of foul play. A spokesman said: “The fact that a number of names could not be validated is hardly surprising. These aren’t crosses in boxes, so obviously some people aren’t going to put down full name or full address.
“The 3,408 cases of voters not on Tower Hamlets electoral register is a disturbing figure, but there is no suggestion that they were phony votes. What it shows is that a large number of voters don’t realise they are not registered.”
Although a large number of votes were declared invalid, the requisite figure of five per cent of the electorate of Tower Hamlets was still reached, with the final count resting at 6.6 per cent.