Banned mayor ‘may demand review’


Published: Friday 24th April 2015 by The News Editor

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The deputy mayor of Tower Hamlets has said Lutfur Rahman is looking into the possibility of launching a judicial review after being found guilty of corrupt and illegal practices.

Oliur Rahman, who is no relation, said his former colleague was seeking legal advice to decide on his next steps.

He also insisted that “institutional racism” is a problem in the east London borough, saying those who say otherwise are “very much mistaken”.

Police are being urged to investigate Lutfur Rahman following yesterday’s High Court hearing.

The directly-elected mayor was found “personally” guilty of wrongdoing and “guilty by his agents” by Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey.

Mr Mawrey, who analysed evidence at an Election Court trial in London earlier this year, said his ruling meant that the 2014 Tower Hamlets mayoral election was void and would have to be re-run.

And he said it meant that Lutfur Rahman – a former Labour councillor who stood for mayor on an independent ticket – would be barred from running for office for five years.

The deputy mayor told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the judge’s decision had come as a “shock to many”.

He said: “Lutfur Rahman strongly denies any wrongdoing.

“He’s now seeking further legal advice, including possible judicial review as to what steps he wants to take.

“I respect the decision the judge has made. I have respect for the judicial system in this country.

“For me, what is far more important is to restore the faith of people into the council, to deliver the service they have been receiving.

“If people say there is no racism in Tower Hamlets, they are very much mistaken.

“There is institutional racism … They are very much mistaken if they turn round and say there is no racism.”

Asked if Lutfur Rahman had been divisive, he replied: “That is the view of the judge. In the community, people might have a different view.”

He refused to confirm if this also represented his personal opinion.

Four voters took legal action against Lutfur Rahman under the provisions of the Representation Of The People Act.

The group was headed by Andy Erlam, who stood as a councillor on an anti-corruption ticket.

Mr Erlam said Mr Mawrey’s ruling was “fantastic for democracy” but he said more inquiries were needed.

Published: Friday 24th April 2015 by The News Editor

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