Three Respect candidates in Tower Hamlets, east London, won a court victory against the council today overturning a decision to exclude them from the ballot paper on technical grounds.
Foyaz Ali, Sultana Begum and Mohammed Hassan sent in their nominations to stand as Respect candidates in the St Katherine’s & Wapping ward of the borough.
But the council’s returning officer ruled that the nomination papers were incorrectly filled in. This ruling came despite the fact that election officials had previously assured the election agent that the papers were in order.
The judge ruled that the candidates were treated unfairly by the returning officer, Christine Gilbert. While the nomination papers were in fact technically incorrect, the three candidates had a “legitimate expectation” that their forms would be checked in time for any corrections to be made.
The judge added that they were treated inconsistently by the returning officer compared to other candidates in the borough. The council election in St Katherine’s & Wapping ward was annulled and will now be re-run at a later date. The council is appealing against the judgement and the appeal will be heard on Friday or next Monday.
Respect national secretary John Rees commented, “This is a brilliant vindication of Respect’s campaign to clean up the vote in Tower Hamlets.
“We said the returning officer was exceeding her powers, which is what the judge has ruled.”