An important story in the Evening Standard today with clear evidence of voter fraud in Tower Hamlets prompting fears that the election for Mayor of London this May could be stolen. Polls have pointed to a close result.
The report says:
Dozens of flats in a key borough are holding up to eight people per bedroom, according to the electoral register.
Tenants in Tower Hamlets said it was "impossible" for so many residents to share one property and some admitted they had never heard of their apparent flatmates. In one case, 12 adults are still listed as voters at a three-bedroom flat in Mile End despite having moved out about four months before officials gathered data for the register.
Town hall records for Tower Hamlets show a total of 64 properties in the borough are registered to 550 voters – an average of three people per bedroom. According to up-to-date town hall records, there are 12 people sharing one top-floor flat, which has only one bathroom.
When the Standard visited the flat, the six current tenants, from Spain and Italy, expressed disbelief that a dozen adults could live there.
One tenant who moved in last week, said: "Twelve people? No way, it's crazy. One of the current guys had a friend staying to visit and seven is already a squeeze." When questioned by the Standard, the letting agent for the property admitted only "three or four" of the tenants listed on the electoral register had signed a contract for the flat.
The rest of the article gives further examples that indicate something systematic is happening to rig the election. There have been investigations of electoral fraud in the borough previously but no convictions.
The 2008 mayoral election saw the Labour share of the vote sharply increase in Tower Hamlets against the trend elsewhere. In the 2004 results Livingstone beat Steve Norris by 16,229 to 10,157. In the 2008 results we saw Livingstone beat Boris in that borough by 37,361 to 17,509.
A Tower Hamlets spokesman said:
"We are looking into this matter and will consider what further investigation is appropriate."
But should this be a matter for Tower Hamlets Council alone? If they are unwilling or unable to prevent electoral fraud should not a crack squad from the Electoral Commission be brought in?