‘Democracy in Newham is still a sickly patient’: Council criticised over local election blunder

PUBLISHED: 10:22 16 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:10 17 October 2018

East Ham Town Hall. Picture: Ken Mears

East Ham Town Hall. Picture: Ken Mears


The council has come under fire after errors in May’s local election results were exposed.

Rachel Collinson from the Green Party. Pic: HELEN LYNCHRachel Collinson from the Green Party. Pic: HELEN LYNCH

A Newham Council report reveals votes in the Stratford and New Town, Beckton and Green Street West wards were incorrectly allocated to candidates.

The errors did not affect the outcome of the ward elections, but did have an impact on the number of votes received by the losing candidates in the three wards, the report states.

By law ballot papers must put candidates in alphabetical order of commonly used surname.

After the votes are counted they get transferred onto a declaration of results form, which has to place candidates in order of their legal surname.

This can change the order of the candidates when common and legal surnames differ. This happened in at least one case with Green Street West Tory candidate Kamran Qureshi dropping down the order when his legal surname, Yousaf, was used on the declaration form.

His name shifted but his votes were incorrectly allocated to fellow Tory candidate Abdul Karim Sheikh.

The blunder, uncovered by a Green Party activist, affected split votes – ballot papers giving voters the option to choose candidates from more than one party.

Green Party candidate for Stratford and New Town, Rachel Collinson, said: “What other serious mistakes have been missed without decent scrutiny? Democracy in Newham is still a sickly patient in urgent need of a doctor.”

Beckton Green Party candidate Jane Lithgow added: “We are staggered by the level of incompetence.”

The mayoral election was not affected by the error and the council reported itself to the elections watchdog, the Electoral Commission, the report states.

The commission agreed the council’s returning officer could use legal powers allowing corrections to be made to results but that stop short of preventing a recount once these have been declared.

The report authors recommended the council update the results, apologise and take steps to avoid it happening again.

A council spokeswoman said: “We wrote to all the election agents providing a full explanation. Additional checks have been put in place to prevent any recurrence. It is an issue that largely only affects local elections.”

Latest Newham Stories


Essex Senior League: Saffron Walden Town 4 Clapton 0

Essex Senior League

A young filmmaker has shone a spotlight on an outreach scheme trying to tackle knife crime.

United Kingdom

Councillor Susan Masters, Clare Roche, Head of Fundraising at Richard House and Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz.


The power of sport remains unrivalled in its ability to inspire change, improve lives and unite communities.

Premier League
Yesterday, 18:11

London Lions maintained their lead at the top of the BBL Championship with victory on the road against Worcester Wolves.

Yesterday, 17:00

Imam Haque lives in East Ham, and soon he’ll begin training for his first London Marathon, for Age UK.

European Union
Yesterday, 16:56

Leyton Orient came from behind to beat Bromley and extend their unbeaten run in the National League to six matches, while also returning to the top of the table.

Dean Brill
Yesterday, 16:00

The inexperienced teenager tasked with overseeing West Ham United women’s team will have his journey followed in a new BBC Three series.

United Kingdom


Have you spent time as an unpaid carer? If you are over the age of 25 and living in Newham, the Working for Carers scheme can help you take the first steps back to employment.

Hanson Fernandes’ journey began in 2015 when he arrived in London from Goa, India.

Newsletter Sign Up

Newham Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now