Conservative councillor convicted of voting fraud, plus minor exclusive

A special election court ruled earlier today that Conservative Eshaq Khan and his supporters carried out “corrupt and illegal practices” to secure his election in Slough.

A by-election will now be held, and Eshaq Khan has been expelled from the Conservative Party:

He and his electoral team were found to have created hundreds of false names in the weeks running up to the 3 May election and entered them on the electoral register for the ward, the court heard.

They then made applications for postal votes for these “ghost voters” and used the ballots to vote for Khan.

It was only when Labour party activists, surprised by the Conservative victory in an election which had otherwise been a success for Labour, pressed for an investigation that the fraud was discovered, the hearing was told. [BBC]

Followers of election law cases will not be surprised to know that Richard Mawrey’s judgement is, shall we say, lively. He’s the man who also presided over the huge Birmingham postal vote fraud case where he likened the British postal voting system to that you would expect to find in a “banana republic”. This time round, fruits are out and racing is in. And then there’s paragraph 127:

The system of registering voters in Great Britain may fairly be described as shambolic. As will be seen later, it causes perplexity and concern on the part of our European neighbours, many of whom regard the United Kingdom as a beacon of democracy, which kept the flame of democracy alive while continental Europe descended into totalitarian night. They are saddened to observe the authorities of the United Kingdom apparently indifferent to the debauching of democracy by widespread and persistent fraud.

You can (exclusively it would seem, as I’ve not found the document elsewhere) read the summary and full judgement here.

The Conservatives end the day with no change in their number of councillors though, because earlier today a Liberal Democrat in Westmorland switched to them.

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