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Archive for May 14th, 2014

I think I’m right in saying that of all the London boroughs, Tower Hamlets has been in the news more than most regarding cycling fatalities in the past few years. Three people have been killed at the notorious Bow roundabout alone since 2011.

A number of others (some can supply the exact figure) have also lost their lives along Bow Road, Mile End Road, Whitechapel Road and Aldgate High Street. All those deaths occurred on the Cycle Superhighway 2 (CS2).

There are also accidents waiting to happen on the CS3 in Limehouse, particularly by the junction of Branch Road and Horseferry Road where motorists are given little chance when cyclists are directed their way, against the flow of traffic, in a one-way street.

To be fair to John Biggs, he has been campaigning at City Hall on these issues for years.

Following the latest Bow Roundabout deaths last November, Mayor Lutfur Rahman weighed in, saying:

Boris Johnson has repeatedly ignored demands to make Bow roundabout safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Today I am asking to meet Mayor Boris Johnson and demand he act immediately to make the Bow roundabout safer and undertake an urgent review of the Cycle Superhighway in Tower Hamlets.

So, despite his love of chauffeured Mercs, you’d fully expect him to accept an invitation from the group representing cyclists in Tower Hamlets for a hustings in Bethnal Green tonight.

Here’s the email sent out by Tower Hamlets Wheelers:

For the first time in London’s political history, a campaign group is aiming to lobby 6000 local election candidates to help make streets safer and more inviting for everyone to cycle.

With the mayoral elections taking place on May 22nd, local cycle campaign group, Tower Hamlets Wheelers have arranged a Q&A with election candidates. With the majority of candidates confirmed to attend, we have a unique opportunity to put forward our questions and influence future decision makers on why cycle safety needs to be a priority.

We are inviting local Tower Hamlets residents to come along – ask questions, share their views or simply hear what the candidates have to say:
When: Wednesday 14th May at 7.00pm
Where: St Margaret’s House, Old Ford Rd, E2 9PL

The borough council controls the vast majority of roads in Tower Hamlets and the mayor is in a uniquely powerful position to influence and implement cycling friendly policies. This is our chance to let the next mayor know how important Space for Cycling is.

Tower Hamlets Wheelers tell me the following people have confirmed their attendance:

John Biggs (Lab)

Reetendra Banerji (Lib)

Nicholas McQueen (UKIP)

Hugo Pierre (TUSC)

Chris Smith (Green)

Chris Wilford (Con)

They’ve emailed and called Lutfur Rahman’s office several times, including an email to his agent, Cllr Alibor Choudhury (on an email address I know he monitors).

They’ve not had any reply.

So it looks like he’s ducking another Q&A with residents.

 

UPDATE: 2.15pm

Seconds after I published this blog (and after having checked with Tower Hamlets Wheelers), they emailed me to say that at 2pm today, Lutfur’s office had replied. Lutfur won’t be attending tonight, but they say Alibor Choudhury will attend in his place. They provided no reason for Lutfur’s absence and I wonder whether the other candidates will even accept this.

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The Evening Standard reported this last night:

Two men have been arrested in an investigation into vote fraud in separate London boroughs.

A 38-year-old man was arrested in Tower Hamlets and a 33-year-old man was arrested in Enfield, Scotland Yard said.

Police made clear that the two cases are not linked but said both relate to alleged false declarations on nominations papers for local elections to be held on May 22.

The pair were tonight being questioned at a north London police station.

Both arrests were made on suspicion of an offence under section 65a of the Representation of People Act 1983, which relates to false statements made on nomination papers.

Sources confidently tell me the man in question in Tower Hamlets is Jewel Islam, the Conservative candidate for the Mile End ward.

Screen shot 2014-05-14 at 10.42.28

Mr Islam is the man in the bottom photo. He stood for the Tories in the Mile End East ward in 2006 when he polled 454 votes. He’s a businessman has been listed as a director of three dissolved/non-dormant Brick Lane registered companies in the past three years.

Scotland Yard, where there is a special team examining the London borough elections, tell me the 38 year old has been bailed until a date in June pending further inquiries. This means he will be standing in the election next week.

My understanding is that his arrest is NOT related to any false signature, date of birth or address.

Section 65A of the Representation of the People’s Act states:

False statements in nomination papers etc.

(1)A person is guilty of a corrupt practice if, in the case of any relevant election, he causes or permits to be included in a document delivered or otherwise furnished to a returning officer for use in connection with the election—

(a)a statement of the name or home address of a candidate at the election which he knows to be false in any particular; or

[F2(aa)(where the election is a parliamentary election) a statement under rule 6(5)(b) of Schedule 1 to this Act which he knows to be false in any particular; or]

(b)anything which purports to be the signature of an elector who proposes, seconds or assents to, the nomination of such a candidate but which he knows—

(i)was not written by the elector by whom it purports to have been written, or

(ii)if written by that elector, was not written by him for the purpose of signifying that he was proposing, seconding, or (as the case may be) assenting to, that candidate’s nomination[F3 or

(c)a certificate authorising for the purposes of rule 6A of the parliamentary elections rules the use by a candidate of a description if he knows that the candidate is standing at an election in another constituency in which the poll is to be held on the same day as the poll at the election to which the certificate relates.]

[F4(1A)A person is guilty of a corrupt practice if, in the case of any relevant election, he makes in any document in which he gives his consent to his nomination as a candidate—

(a)a statement of his date of birth,

(b)a statement as to his qualification for being elected at that election, or

(c)a statement that he is not a candidate at an election for any other constituency the poll for which is to be held on the same day as the poll at the election to which the consent relates,

which he knows to be false in any particular.

(1B)For the purposes of subsection (1A), a statement as to a candidate’s qualification is a statement—

(a)that he is qualified for being elected,

(b)that he will be qualified for being elected, or

(c)that to the best of his knowledge and belief he is not disqualified for being elected.]

(2)In this section “relevant election” means—

(a)any parliamentary election, or

(b)[F5except for the purposes of subsections (1)(c) and (1A)(c),] any local government election in England or Wales.]

For the purposes of free flowing debate and interest in the election process, I’m going to allow comments but the non-libellous discussion must not relate directly to Mr Islam’s arrest. He has not been charged, let alone been tried or convicted. I’d prefer discussion to be around interpretations of this Section 65A.

 

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