Ex-Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman to face SDT over electoral fraud scandal

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By Thomas Connelly on

Family law solicitor was found guilty of “corrupt and illegal practices” in April 2015

Lutfur Rahman

Former Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman is set for a showdown with the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) next week over allegations he failed to “uphold the rule of law”.

Rahman (pictured) — who was Britain’s first elected Muslim mayor — was accused of “corrupt and illegal practices” during his 2014 re-election campaign for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

After a ten-week inquiry which concluded in April 2015, the family law solicitor was found guilty. Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey QC said that Rahman had “driven a coach and horses through election law — and didn’t care”. Ordered to pay costs of £250,000, Rahman was stripped of his office.

Admitted to the roll in 1997, he now faces a grilling courtesy of the SDT.

According to a charge sheet published on the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) website yesterday, the disgraced ex-mayor is accused of failing to “uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice”, failing to “act with integrity”, and failing to “behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in him and the provision of legal services.”

The inquiry heard at the time how Bangladesh-born Rahman, a former Labour councillor who went on to form his own party, Tower Hamlets First, had “cynically perverted” the religious emotions and solidarity of his Muslim community. Continuing, Mawrey said:

This is not the consequence of the racial and religious mix of the population, nor is it linked to any ascertainable pattern of social or other deprivation. It is the result of the ruthless ambition of one man.

Electoral law and how it is used in practice was explored last week by BPP law student Peter Baker in our Legal Cheek Journal section. Exploring reports that a political activist told Muslims to vote Labour or go to hell in the recent Stoke by-election, Baker examined what is being done to ensure campaigns remain fair and legal.

Legal Cheek understands that Rahman’s hearing will start on 7 March and has been scheduled to last for fours days. As it stands all allegations remain unproven.

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