Sunday, May 13, 2007

Respect Party - False Declaration

A CALDERDALE Respect Party candidate has been arrested on suspicion of making a false declaration in last week's local elections, it was reported today.

Sajid Mehmood, 35, stood in the Park Ward, coming second with 1,147 votes to Labour's Arshad Mahmood who polled 1,500 votes.

According to reports today, Calderdale Council's chief executive and returning officer Paul Sheehan has sent a letter to every candidate who stood in the ward on May 3 stating that Mr Mehmood was not eligible to stand for election.

It said: "Information has come to my attention that one of the candidates, Sajid Mehmood, was not qualified to stand for the election because when he gave his consent to nomination as a candidate it included a statement as to his qualification for being elected, and in fact Mr Mehmood was disqualified from being a candidate because he has been convicted of an offence for which he received a term of imprisonment of three months or more."

The Respect Party claim to fight against electoral fraud and malpractice.

Mr Sheehan's letter also explained that under the terms of the Representation of the People Act 1983 an election petition could now be brought to challenge the election, this must be 21 days from the date of the election.

Legal costs in doing so can reach high levels.

Tim Swift, the newly elected leader of the Labour group on Calderdale Council, said: "I cannot see any grounds for challenging the result - we won convincingly."

But Paul Rogan, chairman of the Bradford and Calderdale branch of the English democrats, said he has alerted his national party officers.

"I hope that they will be able to instigate a petition so that the election can be rerun fairly and


Leader of the council Ann McAllister declined to comment saying the matter was "procedural" rather than political.

Mr Mehmood, who is married with five children, was a Labour Party member in the late 1990s but stood for the Conservatives in Mixenden in 2002.

He was the former chief executive of Calderdale Advice Centre in Halifax and runs a grocery shop on Gibbet Street. He is a parent governor at Mount Pellon Junior and Infant School.

A police spokesman said: "A 35-year-old man from the St Johns area of Calderdale has been arrested on suspicion of making a false declaration. He was released on bail pending further inquiries."

A Respect spokesman said: "If the returning officer is correct and the police charge him then that is that, but we impose the strictest possible standards on all our candidates. Respect has led the fight against electoral fraud and malpractice."

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is never much in the way of respect in the respect party. Galloway is a traitor.