A HEARING, which will investigate whether a borough councillor of 23 years lost her seat illegally, is to begin in Slough tomorrow (Monday).
The Election Petition hearing will delve deeper into results in the Central ward in May last year.
Labour’s Lydia Simmons lost to Conservative Eshaq Khan by 116 votes in May last year, which scuppered the party’s plans of retaking control of the council it lost in 2004.
The two-week hearing in the council chambers at Slough Town Hall will allow both sides to present evidence and a QC will gauge if anything untoward has happened.
The Labour group is expected to outline how some voters were registered to derelict homes and a large number of voters were registered to single properties.
[...]In the interests of fairness I will say two things. First, Khan denies all the accusations that have been made. Until the hearing reaches its conclusion, we will not know what the exact truth of the matter is.
The hearing is separate to the ongoing police investigation into voting fraud. Three Slough men have been arrested on suspicion of false applications to vote by post in connection with the elections in May 2007.
Secondly, there are those who might attempt to use this kind of case to "smear an entire community". That would of course be very wrong: although the alleged perpetrator is a Tory, I am assured that the vast majority of moderate Tories are entirely supportive of democracy. And, while it is true that a tiny minority of alleged extremist Tories (Abdul Razaq, Raja Akhtar, and Mohammed Khaliq in Peterborough; Haroon Rashid, Jamshed Khan, and Reis Khan in Bradford; Iftikhar Hussain in Birmingham) are currently undergoing trial for vote-rigging, there have also been Labour activists (Muhammad Afzal, Mohammed Islam, and Mohammed Kazi in Birmingham; Muhammed Hussain in Blackburn) who have been either convicted of electoral fraud, or found to have engaged in it by an election commissioner, besides the former Labour mayor of Peterborough, Mohammed Choudhary, who is currently on trial for vote-rigging, alongside Tariq Mahmood and Maqbool Hussain. And Lib Dems have also been caught participating in some dubious electoral practices: in 2006, Burnley councillors Manzur Hussain and Mozaquir Ali were jailed for their part in a 2004 vote-rigging conspiracy, while last May Birmingham Lib Dem activists Zaker Choudhry and Mohammed Saeed were arrested over accusations of electoral impropriety. I think that it should therefore be abundantly evident to all but the most hardened and intolerant Toryphobe, that there are individuals within all political parties who show insufficient respect to democracy, and that to suggest that any one group was more likely than others to engage in vote-rigging would be the height of bigotry. So there!
Hat-tip: The Green Arrow