More than a year after the Barnhill ward by-election a court hearing in relation to the Election Petition submitted by Stefan Voloseniuc and Kanta Mistry (Conservative candidates) is listed to take place on the morning of February 19th at a time not before 10.30am at the Royal Courts of Justice, in the Strand,
Carolyn Downs, Brent Returning Officer, has applied to the Court to request that the Election Petition be determined by special case and to effectively approve the outcome of the by-election. The application will be considered by two High Court judges in the Queens Bench Division of the High Court on the morning of February 19th.
A recount of the by-election took place at the Royal Courts of Justice on July 16th 2020 and the provisional result of that recount cannot at present be divulged.
The Defendants in the case are Carolyn Downs (Returning Officer) and Mansoor Akram and Gaynor Lloyd the Labour candidates who were declared the winners of the by-election and are currently sitting as councillors for Barnhill ward, alongside Shafique Choudhary.
The by-election was caused by the resignations of Labour councillors Michael Pavey (former Deputy Leader) and Sarah Marquis (former Chair of the Planning Committee).
Declaration of interest I was one of the Green Party candidates in the by-election (the other was Peter Murry). We are not parties to the petition.
I have complete faith in Gaynor Lloyd and I have no reason to doubt the result of the by-election that is due to be questioned in the high court next Friday.
Gaynor isn't the problem.
I've pondered over the accusation that was put against Carolyn Downs
and though British democracy on a local and central is evidently drowning in a self inflicted mire of corruption,
I just can't understand why Ms Downs would knowingly break the rules in order to give Labour candidates an unfair advantage?
If Ms Down's is found guilty, then that surely signals the end for her and the current Labour administration.
Many people would jump for joy if that came to pass
but that wouldn't do anything to address the heart of the matter which is a number of things: a lack of integrity, ineptitude and breath taking inequality in the sense that democracy tends to benefit the politicians far more than the common people.
You're correct Alison,
but unless I'm mistaken, she stands to lose her position if the judges decide that Carolyn Downs broke the rules.
If that happens, Barn Hill residents will lose one of the best Cllr's
and that will be a great loss because Gaynor Lloyd is a person of integrity
and during her time as a Cllr she has worked hard with great passion, patience
and concern for local residents.
Gaynor may be lovely Trev, but if she did not convince enough people to vote for her, she did not win.
Part of the problem is that Brent Council has no clear protocol for a losing candidate to be given a right for a recount (full or partial) or ability to check the bundles of voting papers.
When I stood in one of the Parliamentary election in Brent North there were around 50,000 votes cast. I lost my £500 deposit by being about 35 short of the required target. It is not unusual for votes to be put in wrong bundles - and 35 out of 50000 is not a large error rate. When I asked for a recount/check it was denied to me.
In the case of Barnhill a check of the bundles would have taken 10 minutes - and had this been allowed to the losers all the trouble, uncertainty and expenses of the court action could have been avoided. Will anything change, will a clear protocol be established, will lessons be learnt - I hope so.
Trevor, this is the latest in a long line of interference with Brent elections. It started when Gareth was kicked out.
I've known Gaynor for years, she's brilliant. But that's not the issue.
The judgement in this case will be an important one, whichever way it goes.
I hope that Martin will be able to post a copy of, or link to, the full judgement of the High Court - as I doubt whether Brent Council will share that with the people of the borough.
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