London

'No criminal offences' in Tower Hamlets election fraud

Lutfur Rahman
Image caption Lutfur Rahman was found guilty of electoral fraud

A Met Police investigation has found "insufficient evidence" that any criminal offences were committed during the fraudulent mayoral election in Tower Hamlets in 2014.

Former mayor Lutfur Rahman was removed from office last year after being found guilty of election fraud.

Detectives launched the review following a High Court report into voter intimidation during the election.

Campaigner Andy Erlam, who led the legal battle to remove Mr Rahman, branded the Met's verdict an "utter disgrace".

The force said it took "any allegations of electoral fraud or malpractice very seriously."

Public inquiry call

The police investigation analysed the critical 200-page report, published in April, as part of the review.

It looked at 164 existing complaints of election malpractice, five new allegations and new material connected to 47 of the original ones.

One of the allegations had to be dropped as the one-year time limit had expired before police were aware of it, the Met said.

Crissy Thompson, a community activist, told the BBC she had complained about postal votes being sent to properties which were empty or scheduled for demolition.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Andy Erlam has called for a public inquiry

Mr Erlam said: "There should be a public inquiry about what's been going in Tower Hamlets because we've not got to the bottom of it.

"We're going to consider private prosecutions."

Mr Rahman was found to have breached election rules and ordered to step down. He failed in a recent bid to have a five-year ban on standing for office overturned.

As part of the original High Court investigation, which was a civil case, two people were cautioned.

A Conservative candidate in the May 2014 borough election, Jewel Islam, will go on trial in May accused of failing to declare a criminal conviction that would have disqualified him.

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