The election of Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman has been voided by a judge and he has been banned from standing again.
He is found guilty of making false statements smearing his Labour opponent John Biggs as a racist.
He is also guilty of using taxpayer-funded grants to induce votes.
And guilty of bribery and corruption.
Also guilty of corrupt practice of undue spiritual influence.
Guilty of “general corruption” too.
Rahman a wrong ‘un? Who’d have thought it…
UPDATE: Statement from Eric Pickles:
“I sent in Commissioners into the dysfunctional mayoral administration following the mismanagement of public money and the breakdown of democratic accountability. An independent Election Court has now found the Mayor and his agents guilty of corrupt practices, including bribery and the abuse of public money.
This judgment vindicates our action to intervene. The immediate priority of the Commissioners must be to ensure a free and fair election takes place on 7 May.
I will now ask the Commissioners whether further resources or powers are necessary to help them stamp out this culture of corruption in Tower Hamlets. The Commissioners’ powers may need to be extended in the interim before any by-election.
The police also need to take steps to stop further corrupt practices following this damning judgement. We must also challenge those who seek to spread further division in light of the ruling. There can be no place for rotten boroughs in 21st Century Britain.”
UPDATE II: Rahman ordered to pay £250,000 costs.