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Electoral Commission statement on Tower Hamlets

Published: 27 May 2014

Counting for the local elections in Tower Hamlets will resume this evening with the recount for the ward of Bromley South.

There have also been concerns expressed about voter intimidation, although the police have so far received no criminal allegations relating to activity at polling stations in the borough from either campaigners or voters.

An Electoral Commission spokesperson said: “Everyone should be able to vote free from intimidation and be confident that their vote is safe.

“It is also important that elections produce results voters can have confidence in and that candidates know the outcome as soon as possible. Clearly there have been issues at the Tower Hamlets count and we need to make sure we understand what happened, and the reasons for it, before reaching any conclusions.

“As part of our review we will be talking to the Returning Officer and Regional Returning Officer. We will be looking closely at what happened during the count, as well as the planning that took place beforehand.

“Once we have concluded the review we will publish its findings in our report on the elections.“We have spoken to Tower Hamlets council and they will provide any further updates on arrangements for the remaining count.

Acting Superintendent Helen Lewis, of Tower Hamlets borough police, said: “Although we have received no allegations of harassment, intimidation or fraudulent behaviour at polling stations in Tower Hamlets we would, of course, be keen to speak with anyone who has concerns. If you saw anything that you believe amounted to criminal activity, please call the police on 101. Your information will be treated with the utmost discretion.”

Notes to editors

  1. Elections are run by Returning Officers in each local authority and, in the case of the European Parliament elections, a Regional Returning Officer for each of the twelve regions in the UK. The Electoral Commission's role - as set out by Parliament - is to provide them with guidance and report on their performance.
  2. Prior to the elections, the Returning Officer for Tower Hamlet put in place a local protocol which represented a commitment by all parties, individuals and organisations involved in the May 2014 elections in Tower Hamlets to work towards free and fair elections. The Electoral Commission and the Metropolitan Police supported this protocol. As part of this protocol, a dedicated email address was set up to allow campaigners and parties to report any incidences of electoral irregularities. The full protocol is available here
  3. The police are responsible for investigating allegations of electoral fraud and can be contacted on 020 7230 2171
  4. For questions about the count please contact Tower Hamlets council on 020 7364 4389