6 Nov 2010

Electorate result in UK declared void after complaint

9:58 am on 6 November 2010

In a rare move, an election to a seat in the British Parliament is to be re-run because of a complaint about the way the winning candidate conducted his campaign.

The Labour MP, Phil Woolas, has vowed to fight on after his election win was declared void and he was suspended by the Labour party, the BBC reports.

Mr Woolas, who served as a Home Office immigration minister in the previous government, faces a three-year parliamentary ban after being found guilty of deliberately making false statements about a Liberal Democrat rival in campaign literature.

He won the seat by 103 votes over Elwyn Watkins, who has argued that the false allegations probably swayed the vote in such a close contest.

A specially-convened election court - the first of its kind for 99 years - was set up in September to hear the charges against Mr Woolas.

He was accused of stirring up racial tensions in his campaign leaflets by suggesting Mr Watkins had pandered to Muslim militants, and had refused to condemn death threats Mr Woolas said he had received from such groups.

Mr Woolas is demanding a review of the decision to re-run the election.