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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 June, 2005, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
Poll fraud probe in Galloway seat
George Galloway
The Respect MP beat Labour's Oona King at the election
Police have launched a probe into claims of election fraud in George Galloway's Bethnal Green and Bow seat.

The Respect MP says he suspects thousands of fraudulent postal votes were cast in the 5 May election.

The poll was plagued by "ghost voters", the electoral roll was a shambles, and there was a New Labour "dirty tricks" campaign, he claimed.

The leader of Tower Hamlets Council said Mr Galloway had failed to produce any actual evidence of postal fraud.

Mr Galloway, who ousted Labour's Oona King at the election turning her 10,000 margin into a 823 majority for Respect, described one address in Brick Lane as a "black hole of Calcutta" claiming 14 people who did not live there had been registered to vote.

Formal allegation

And he said 200 polling cards were sent to residents at a now defunct nurses' home in Mile End.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: "We have received a formal allegation of electoral fraud in the constituency.

"Detectives are consulting with the Crown Prosecution Service to ascertain if any possible offence has been disclosed that would require further investigation."

Mr Galloway told a London Assembly committee: "The borough of Tower Hamlets runs its elections in a way that would disgrace a banana republic.

"The people responsible for it ought to be embarrassed and the salaries they are lifting."

Corrupt?

He added: "It became clear to us during the course of the campaign that somebody was involved in a major operation to bloat the electoral register with non-existent electors as part of a dirty tricks operation."

Mr Galloway claimed Tower Hamlets council was in the grip of a "corrupt political culture run by new Labour".

The local authority's leader, Michael Keith, rejected the MP's accusations saying police were only looking at one address in Brick Lane where 14 voters were registered but as there were four flats above the shop this was not unusual.

'Disgraceful slurs'

Mr Keith said: "We are confident that the election was well run.

"There are concerns that have been raised about postal voting, including by the Department of Constitutional Affairs.

"We support the DCA's proposals to tighten up the system.

"The slurs on the integrity of the electoral process are disgraceful. The returning officer did an outstanding job in running the election."




SEE ALSO:
Maverick MP pledges to oust Blair
08 May 05 |  Election 2005


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