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Tower Hamlets First removed from party register

The Electoral Commission has removed Tower Hamlets First (THF), the party led by disgraced mayor Lutfur Rahman, from the register of political parties.

The decision comes after the commission considered the judgement issued in the High Court finding Rahman guilty of corrupt and illegal election practices and ordering his removal from office.

Bob Posner, director of party and election finance at the commission, said: “Following the court’s judgment in the Tower Hamlets election petition on 23 April, the commission has concluded that Tower Hamlets First can no longer remain registered as a political party.

“This is because the court’s consideration of the case made clear that the financial scheme the party was required to submit to the commission when registering as political party had not subsequently been implemented. The court's conclusions mean that the party’s registration is no longer valid and we have written to the party today confirming this.”

The findings of the court that are relevant to the commission’s decision were that the documentation supporting the party’s application to register as a political party “formed no part of the running of the party”; and that “there was no responsible financial scheme”.

By virtue of section 26 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (PPERA) a party cannot be registered unless it has adopted a scheme which set out the arrangements for regulating the financial affairs of the party for the purposes of PPERA and this has been approved in writing by the commission.

PSE attempted to contact Rahman and Tower Hamlets First for comment but calls and emails were not returned.

However the former mayor has made clear his decision to fight the legal judgement. He rejects all claims of wrongdoing, insisting he has been the victim of smears, and has launched a fundraising drive to pay his £1m legal fees.

On Thursday a rally was held in support of Rahman, attended by prominent figures such as George Galloway and former London mayor Ken Livingstone. Additionally Unite chief of staff Andrew Murray told the Evening Standard that he was bringing a "personal message of support" for Rahman from the union's chief, Len McCluskey.

(Image source: Steven Haslington

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