MAN ARRESTED AFTER CAR FULL OF POSTAL VOTING FORMS FOUND IN TOWER HAMLETS
by NICK HALLETT
22 Jun 2014
Police in the London borough of Tower Hamlets have found a car full of postal voting applications after stopping it in a routine search. The Sunday Telegraph reports that police claim to have found a “substantial number” of completed forms when they stopped the car in Westferry Circus on the Isle of Dogs.
A man aged 24 has been arrested on suspicion of postal vote fraud.
This is the latest and most significant incident in the police investigation into last month’s local elections in the London borough, which saw the narrow re-election of extremist-linked mayor Lutfur Rahman. The elections have been plagued with allegations of voter intimidation, misconduct and fraud.
Mr Rahman sits as an independent after being expelled from the Labour Party in 2010 in an internal row. He had been linked to the extremist group The Islamic Forum for Europe (IFE), which seeks to impose sharia law on Europe.
The Telegraph also reports that a senior IFE official, Hira Islam, was involved in the counting of the votes in last month’s election. The vote count lasted five days thanks to multiple recounts which saw the vote tallies for some candidates change by as much as 700 votes.
The paper says that many local councillors told them Mr Islam had made threats, invoking the name of IFE, something Mr Islam and Mr Rahman deny.
Elderly voters also say that Rahman’s supporters enrolled them against their will for postal ballots by asking them to sign completed applications, before returning and taking their blank ballot papers from them.
Rahman has now been accused of being connected to the alleged fraud in a cross-party petition to the High Court. The petition alleges that ballots were cast illegally on behalf of other voters, and that activists were paid to lobby people in and around polling stations.
They are now seeking a re-run of the election.