Local news roundup – local councillors – electoral fraud

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Just skimming local news (including areas where I don’t live or have a connection) and I found two items.

First from the Buckinghamshire Free Press

A High Wycombe man who won a Bucks County Council by-election but was charged with electoral fraud has pleaded not guilty to the crimes. Israr Rashid, 40, of Hobart Close, was a Wycombe Labour candidate but was suspended from the party days before the Totteridge and Bowerdean by-election – which he won with 40.8 per cent of the vote.

He was later charged with conspiracy to defraud the electoral services manager at Wycombe District Council by dishonestly causing or permitting to be submitted to the officer postal voting statements which contained false particulars, and two counts of committing, aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring in the commission of voting by post as some other person.

The alleged crimes all happened between January 2, 2019, and February 8, 2019, in relation to the Totteridge and Bowerdean by-election which happened on February 7, 2019.

Because not guilty pleas have been entered, a trial, which is expected to last four to five days, will go ahead although this date has not yet been fixed.

Mr Rosser said there is “substantial” evidence that will need to be gone through and interpreters will be needed for some of the witnesses.

Judge Francis Sheridan, who presided over the plea and trial preparation hearing, said it was in the public interest that the trial is arranged “as promptly as we can”. He added: “If [Mr Rashid] does not turn up for trial, it will be held in his absence.”

And then from the East London and West Essex Guardian and the Yellow Advertiser

A Redbridge Councillor has been charged with electoral fraud and is due to appear in court this month.

Chaudhary Mohammed Iqbal, the Labour councillor for Loxford, is accused of “making false statements in candidate nomination papers” during the 2018 local election, police said.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson revealed the charges “relate to false declarations by Iqbal regarding his address”.

Cllr Iqbal is still listed as a councillor on Redbridge Council’s website. He is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on May 22.

Two things link these cases, both ideological, and I’m sure I don’t need to spell them out.

Left Israr Rashid of High Wycombe, right Chaudhary Mohammed Iqbal of somewhere in East London or West Essex

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