Due to efforts of four local residents there will now be a High Court trial into the elections amid claims of bribery, intimidation and fraud.
In 2012 the Electoral Commission received complaints of fraudulent voting in Tower Hamlets. They released a list of recommendations in March 2013 to uphold the “integrity of elections in Tower Hamlets.” In April 2014 they claimed, “We have been pleased that the Returning Officer and the Metropolitan Police have worked hard to put in place plans to deter and detect electoral fraud, which will help to ensure that the elections in the borough are run in a fair and transparent way in accordance with electoral law.” Then in July 2014 they announced “action needed to restore confidence in Tower Hamlets.”
UKIP’s Andrew McNeilis: “As a resident of and candidate in Tower Hamlets it is quite clear to me that the strong promises made to clean up electoral fraud did not translate to action on the ground. I personally witnessed intimidation, pressure and breaches of rules at both the polling station and counting booths.
“It is a bad day for British democracy when Robert Mugabe’s election process starts to look more transparent and better supervised than our own.”
More than 5,000 names were taken off the electoral register between February and the election for a range of issues. Eric Pickles then asked for investigators to look into actions in Tower Hamlets regarding financial mismanagement before the elections. And with the promise from the local council that there would be a police officer on every polling station in Tower Hamlets, problems were still widespread.
UKIP’s Mayoral Candidate for Tower Hamlets Nicolas McQueen: “At the pre-election meeting for mayoral candidates we were told that the ballot boxes would be taken from the polling stations and held in the police station overnight. Despite this promise the ballot boxes were held in Council Offices overnight by the police.
“When I went vote at my local polling station I was barracked and intimidated by over 20 of Rahmen’s men standing outside. Despite complaining to the two PCSOs there, I was told that they could not act as they were unsure on rules outside a ballot station.
“Once again the Electoral Commission appear to be weak, impotent and disinterested in a case that they should really be getting stuck into and be sorting out. Just what are they for?”