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Ex-mayor of Tower Hamlets fails to overturn ban on running for office

The former mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, has failed to overturn an order that bans him for five years from running for office.

Judge Richard Mawrey QC, sitting as an Election Commissioner, ruled in April 2015 that Rahman had been guilty of corrupt and illegal practices.

The judge ordered that the May 2014 election of mayor for Tower Hamlets be re-run and barred Rahman from standing.

The case had followed a petition brought by four residents of the borough under the Representation of the People Act 1983, making a series of allegations about the conduct of the election.

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The Divisional Court (Lord Justice Lloyd Jones and Mr Justice Supperstone) gave Rahman permission to bring judicial review proceedings over the Election Commissioner’s findings in relation to the way religious leaders had been persuaded to use influence on voters.

However the judges denied him permission to bring judicial review proceedings in relation to the findings of bribery or the finding of payment of canvassers by his agents.

Rahman's five-year ban on standing for public office remained in place.

Field Court Chambers' Francis Hoar, who was leading junior counsel in the trial before the Election Court and appeared for the petitioners as interested parties (led by Edward Bartley Jones QC), said: "In the course of the judgment, the Court made an important finding about the interpretation of s 113 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (prohibiting bribery), finding that the word 'gives any money' in sub-section (2) (a) could include circumstances where an elected public official decides to provide funding to organisations against the recommendations of his officers."

According to the BBC, Rahman did not comment after the hearing.

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