Chris Wilford, was the Conservative candidate in the void 2014 Tower Hamlets Mayoral Election. He stood as the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Poplar and Limehouse in the 2015 General Election.

As one of the few Conservatives in the last 60 years to have stood in an election which has been declared void, I know more than most how divisive community politics can corrupt our democracy and rob citizens of their voice. I have written before for this site on how Tower Hamlets offers an indictment of the system of directly elected Mayors. Much has subsequently been written on events over the last year and the brave petitioners who went out on a limb to challenge the result.

The judgment in the Election Petition, where Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey declared that Lutfur Rahman had “driven a coach and horses through election law and didn’t care,” will be discussed for years to come. However, I think it is important to assert that events in Tower Hamlets are a source of hope as much as they may fill us with despair about how our democracy could be corrupted so significantly in the heart of London.

From Parliament to the media events over recent years have shown that much has gone wrong with our institutions and that on-going reform is needed. However, this judgement has demonstrated that when the chips are down they are still capable of doing what is right. Citizens felt deep concern at events in their area, they gathered evidence and they put their case: the election was declared void and Mr Rahman stripped of office.

Britain will face many significant challenges this century and as Conservatives we must continue to fight for freedom, champion democracy and defend the rule of law. Whilst we rightly criticise and hold to account Leviathan, it must be remembered that strong, accountable and independent institutions are a vital part of freedom’s arsenal.

We are currently mounting a strong campaign to back our candidate in the re-run election this year. Peter Golds has been a tireless public servant, quietly getting on with the job of serving his residents and stating truth to power. It has been overwhelming the amount of support we have received from fellow Conservatives. If you can’t get down to join us on the campaign trail you can back our campaign here.

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