Police have launched an inquiry into an incident of alleged electoral malpractice in the re-run Tower Hamlets mayoral election campaign.
The investigation is into allegations that election leaflets of Independent candidate Rabina Khan were distributed neatly folded inside newsletters from Tower Hamlets Homes, the body which runs the borough’s housing. Khan, a former member of disgraced Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s banned Tower Hamlets First party has denied any knowledge of the incidents.
Hundreds of Khan’s election leaflets have been allegedly distributed through letterboxes on the Green Bank Estate, placed among routine information documents from council’s housing body.
Blogger Mark Baynes has taken pictures of the man who was giving out the leaflets and filmed him in action.
Three members of Khan’s canvassing team also allegedly gained access to a building at Silver Wharf in Limehouse to distribute election leaflets, claiming they were “working for Tower Hamlets in a normal political capacity”.
The Metropolitan Police’s Special Enquiry Team is investigating the allegations as a potential breach of election law.
“No arrests have been made. The enquiry is ongoing,” it said.
Khan, who is cabinet member for housing and development on Tower Hamlets council and responsible for Tower Hamlet Homes, said: “I have definitely not used Tower Hamlets Homes staff to distribute leaflets in working hours and I deplore the idea of anyone doing so.”
“When informed of these allegations I immediately referred them to the police and the Returning Officer, who I hope will be able to get to the bottom of this situation. I have not, as alleged, been interviewed by police and I do not know where this bizarre rumour came from.”
Tower Hamlets Homes said the man filmed was not a member of staff and it has not authorised the distribution of its newsletter with any other materials.
“We are now investigating this matter urgently. It appears that we may have been very badly let down, and we have already instructed the company to stop all remaining distribution of our newsletter immediately.”
The Tower Hamlets Mayoral re-election will take place on June 11. It has been called after former Mayor Lutfur Rahman was removed from office after being found guilty of election fraud earlier this year.