Electoral fraud and malpractice in Tower Hamlets (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
March 22, 2017
Question By: 
Steve O'Connell
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Steve O’Connell AM:  Yes.  I shall try to be slightly more pointed.  Assembly Member Arbour has mentioned the work of the Police and Crime Committee over a period of months responding to witnesses and representations from the good people of Tower Hamlets, including the very good Mayor, John Biggs.  There has been reference to the fact that the Deputy Mayor Linden, when scrutinised by the Committee, appeared to be content with the investigations of the police within Tower Hamlets.


Can I ask you, Mr Mayor, if you had not received or if Sophie Linden (Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime) had not received the letter from the Chairman of the Police and Crime Committee - me - on 9 March [2017] that you requested you call in the HMIC, would you have done so?


Answer for Electoral fraud and malpractice in Tower Hamlets (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Electoral fraud and malpractice in Tower Hamlets (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  To be fair to me, what Assembly Member Arbour said was that, as a consequence of his question, there was a referral to HMIC.  We all have delusions of grandeur, some more than others.


What I would say is that I cannot give you what the tipping point was.  I am aware that representations had been made from Members of Parliament, from Assembly Members and from the current Mayor of Tower Hamlets.  I understand that there has been concern expressed by a number of others about the way - and I am using generous language for reasons you will appreciate - the police have conducted matters.  The Deputy Mayor [for Policing and Crime] has done the right thing and has referred this to HMIC.  People may want to claim credit singlehandedly for a decision made by the Deputy Mayor, but I commend her for referring this to HMIC when she did.


Steve O’Connell AM:  I do not believe anyone here is trying to claim credit.  The only ‑‑


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I think he just did.


Steve O’Connell AM:  Yes, that is gone now.  The credit is due ‑‑


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  For the record, he just tried to.

Steve O’Connell AM:  The credit is due to those complainers and brave people in Tower Hamlets who stepped up to the plate and came to us and gave us evidence.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Absolutely. 


Steve O’Connell AM:  What I would suggest, Mr Mayor, is that it did take a lot of pressure from others and also the Police and Crime Committee for finally your good self and your Deputy Mayor to call in the HMIC.  I thank you for doing it.  It just has taken too long.  Justice needs to be served for the people of Tower Hamlets.  It is a statement, but would you agree with that?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Yes and no.  Can I just say this?  Look, there are lots of extremely brave people in Tower Hamlets who put their heads above the parapet, those who brought legal challenges, those who stood as candidates, those who canvassed and risked their personal safety every day campaigning in Tower Hamlets and still do.


In relation to the decision to refer this to HMIC to investigate, we have to be very careful.  HMIC has not begun its review.  We are not sure what it is going to find.  We just have to be a bit careful assuming that the MPS has done something wrong - that was an assumption made by the previous questioning - and assuming that there have been mistakes made.


The fact is that there were concerns raised.  Prosecutions should be brought without fear or favour.  Electoral law is a serious issue.  That is why the Deputy Mayor has done the right thing by referring this to HMIC without prejudging the outcome, like the last questioner tried to do.


Steve O’Connell AM:  That will suffice.  Thank you, Mr Mayor.


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Deputy Chair in the Chair):  OK.  No other questions on the matter.  I am going to hand back to the Chairman.