Long-awaited verdict on electoral fraud
At the Reading High Court on June 9th judgement was given in the case of Ali v five members of Mohammed Bashir's family living in the Woodham Road, New Haw.
The five fraudsters were given prison sentences as follows:
- Mohammed Bashir's sister Parveen Akhtar, 9 months;
- Her husband Shaukat Ali, 15 months;
- Their son Shamraez Ali, 6 months;
- Their daughter Sobia Ali Akhtar, 9 months;
- Sobia Ali's husband Abid Hussain, 6 months suspended sentence.
From the judge's opening remarks, it appeared he was clearly intending to impose deterrent sentences when referring to a similar case in Blackburn. He made the points that Shaukat Ali's evidence was a pack of lies and there was no expression of remorse. Husband and wife both pretended they did not know Bashir was standing. Most voter fraud, although not all, has been due to a similar manipulation of postal votes. Both the Birmingham case (2004) and Slough case (2007) were due to postal vote fraud.
He said it was equally important to protect democracy at both the local and the national level.
So barring an appeal, which was regarded as unlikely, this sobering chapter in our lives is nearly over. It has taken three years since Mohammad Ali took out the election petition. It is only due to people like Ali taking their courage in both hands and setting out on a route as difficult as this has proved to be, that we will clear voter fraud out of politics.
Demo against through-traffic in Arnold Road
On June 24th residents of Arnold Road and others will stage a demonstration at 5.30pm outside the Woking council civic entrance before the Surrey County Council Local meeting starts in the council chamber.
In a road with only 85 houses, 78 residents have signed a petition in protest against Arnold Road being used as a rat-run for through-traffic from Albert Drive, and against the exhaust pollution, noise and congestion that it causes.
Cllr Tahir Aziz, who will be presenting the petition, describes the problem as a "huge waste of public money". He also points out that the council also has a duty
under The Clean Air Act which he maintains is not being fulfilled.
"I will be presenting the petition on behalf of residents as I think the new by-pass brings few of the intended benefits to this beleaguered road. Cllr Raja and I will also be raising the issue of exhaust pollution in connection with the Walton Road as well."
Open Policy Forum
The Open Policy Forum (Wednesday July 22nd, 7.30pm) is your chance to contribute to plans for Labour’s future, both locally and nationally. The evening starts with bar and nibbles from 6.30pm, especially to welcome new members, and a short Executive Committee will begin at 7pm (new members and all others are welcome to attend). The social media group will open the Forum at 7.30pm with a presentation on Twitter, and members of the EC will then introduce discussions on housing (Croydonisation included), the living wage/zero hours contracts, Labour policy for the Green Belt Review which is currently taking place, and on-street parking, and to begin to identify the main issues for our 2016 local election manifesto. Be a part of the debate and bring your pet theories/likes/hates!
IMPORTANT REMINDER Members are reminded to get their votes in soon for the Labour Leadership election. Final votes must be submitted by September 10th.
Registered and Affiliated Supporters can also vote if they sign up to vote by 12 noon on August 12th. To sign up online, contact: www.labour.org.uk/w/labour-party-supporters
Surrey Labour Party to meet at Owen House
Saturday July 11th 10.30am – 1pm. Get yourself clued up on Labour policy!
Anneliese Dodds MEP for the South East (see right) will report on the European Parliament. Many of you will remember Anneliese from last year when she joined us doorstepping and at a street stall.
Surrey Labour Party is our link with national and international issues and is a lively and up-to-date forum. Meetings are open to all supporters, but only members can vote. They take place in Woking as its central location is relatively convenient for the 11 Surrey CLPs.