BBC News – Tower Hamlets count probed by Electoral Commission

Tower Hamlets countCounting for the native elections at Tower Hamlets was first suspended on Saturday

The Electoral Commission is to launch an investigation into vote counting for the native election in Tower Hamlets.

Counting resumed at 18:30 BST for a 3rd time after being suspended twice because the polls closed on Thursday.

The fee stated it will be sending observers to the count and “wanting intently” on the course of.

The east London borough council has attributed the delay to the mayoral and European elections being held collectively, a big turnout and recounts.

The Electoral Commission evaluate comes after the physique stated it was conscious of stories of intimidation at counts and polling stations.

Speaking to the PM programme on BBC Radio A earlier, John Williams, the returning officer for Tower Hamlets, stated the council had not acquired widespread allegations of intimidation on polling day.

“We discovered there have been numbers of individuals outdoors polling stations,” he stated.

“But we did not discover individuals contained in the polling place, and we did not discover the individuals outdoors the polling stations have been intimidating voters.”

Shouting crowds

The Electoral Commission stated it was too early to say what the problems on the count have been however harassed individuals ought to have the ability to vote “free from intimidation”.

Earlier in a statement, a spokesperson stated: “Clearly there have been points on the Tower Hamlets count and we’d like to ensure we perceive what occurred, and the explanations for it, earlier than reaching any conclusions.

“As a part of our evaluation, we can be speaking to the returning officer and regional returning officer.

“We shall be wanting intently at what occurred through the count, in addition to the planning that occurred beforehand.”

Mr Williams, the returning officer for the borough council, defended the method saying new measures had been put in place after round one hundred allegations of fraud have been made within the borough after the 2012 election for London mayor, however he identified that not one of the allegations had been confirmed.

He added that the Electoral Commission had not raised any points on polling day. He stated: “On election day they reported no considerations… to me, they usually have been within the borough all day”.

Politicians stated they witnessed crowds shouting at individuals as they arrived to forged their votes they usually claimed leaflets have been left in cubicles to affect voters.

A police officer stands outside a polling station in Tower HamletsThe Met stationed an officer at every polling station on Thursday

Labour Mile End councillor Rachael Saunders advised BBC Radio A’s Today programme: “There is an actual fear from lots of people that the police dedicated there would solely be two individuals per get together allowed to be outdoors the polling stations.

“But in reality there have been big crowds at some, shouting at individuals or encouraging them to vote in a specific approach.”

She added that presiding officers ought to have ensured leaflets have been faraway from cubicles however failed to take action.

‘Out-of-hours’ count

Leader of the Conservative group Peter Golds stated: “They have been choosing on sure residents and going as much as them making an attempt to influence them to vote proper up to date they entered the room to vote.”

The Met stated “no main incidents” have been reported.

Acting Supt Helen Lewis, of Tower Hamlets borough police, urged anybody who might have witnessed behaviour that would quantity to legal exercise to return ahead.

She stated: “Although we’ve got acquired no allegations of harassment, intimidation or fraudulent behaviour at polling stations, we might, in fact, be eager to talk with anybody who has considerations.”

The council is having to finish the count “out of hours” due to staffing points, a spokesman stated.

Counting was first suspended by the returning officer due to the delay processing votes for the borough’s mayoral election.

It was suspended once more on Monday.

The Bromley South ward ballots are being recounted and it’s anticipated the 2 elected councillors might be introduced later.

But it might be a while earlier than there’s readability over which get together is in general management of the council chamber because the outcomes for the ultimate three seats within the borough, Blackwall and Cubit Town, might take longer to be revealed.

A by-election for the seats will happen subsequent month after a candidate died forward of final week’s polling day.

A celebration wants 23 seats to regulate the council and when counting was final suspended, Tower Hamlets First – which was backing re-elected mayor Lutfur Rahman – and Labour had 18 seats every H:14 pm – Source: bbc.co.uk
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