Council poll is upheld despite bogus leaflets

Gareth Parry, Guardian, 22 December 1990, page 2

AN ELECTION court yesterday rejected an attempt by the Labour Party to have Liberal Democrat councillors in Tower Hamlets, east London, disqualified, despite a deliberate attempt to deceive voters.

The rarely-convened division of the High Court ruled that the 5,000 bogus leaflets put out by the Liberal Democrats did not invalidate the elections. The Labour Party is to appeal.

Headed Labour News, and carrying the party's red rose logo, the leaflets stated Labour would allow services to run down in their opposition to poll tax, double council rents, and use empty council housing for Bangladeshi homeless families. They were circulated 35 hours before the May local elections, which the Liberal Democrats won with a council majority of 10. Commissioner Sir John Rowe said: "There is no doubt in my mind that there was an intention to deceive, but the deception, namely that it was a Labour-produced leaflet, lasted only a very short time." Accordingly, the leaflets did not impede or prevent the electoral process.