Banned ex-mayor of Tower Hamlets to launch latest stage in legal battle

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A former London mayor barred from running for office for five years after being found guilty of corrupt and illegal practices following a specialist court hearing is preparing for the latest stage of a legal battle.

Lutfur Rahman, who was the directly-elected mayor of Tower Hamlets, is scheduled to ask two senior judges to consider his case on Wednesday.

Lord Justice Lloyd Jones and Mr Justice Supperstone are listed to consider an application by Mr Rahman at a High Court hearing in London.

Mr Rahman has already failed in one attempt to challenge rulings Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey had made on bribery two years ago, following an Election Court trial in London, in the hope of getting the chance to return to political life before the end of the decade.

Two senior judges blocked his bid to mount an appeal against Mr Mawrey's bribery decisions following a preliminary High Court hearing in London last year.

They gave Mr Rahman permission to launch a judicial review on one aspect on Mr Mawrey's ruling - relating to the way religious leaders had been persuaded to use influence on voters.

But they said the law meant that, even if he succeeded in overturning that one aspect of the ruling at a final judicial review hearing, his five-year ban would remain.

A group of four voters, headed by writer and film-maker Andy Erlam, had taken legal action against Mr Rahman, under the provisions of the Representation of The People Act, in 2015.

Lawyers for the four voters had made a series of allegations, including ''personation'' in postal voting and at polling stations, and ballot paper tampering.

Mr Rahman had said there was ''little, if any'' evidence of wrongdoing against him.

His lawyers described the group of four's claims as invention, exaggeration and ''in some cases downright deliberately false allegations''.

But Mr Mawrey made a series of findings against Mr Rahman, who was born in Bangladesh in 1965, in April 2015.

He made bribery findings after concluding that canvassers had been paid, grants had been given to Bangladeshi or Muslim groups in return for support and council money had been used to pay a Bangladeshi language television station which provided supportive coverage.

Mr Mawrey said evidence aired at the Election Court trial had revealed an ''alarming state of affairs'' in Tower Hamlets.

He said his ruling meant that the 2014 Tower Hamlets mayoral election was void . The election was re-run and won by Labour's John Biggs.