Ali v Bashir and Another: QBD 29 Jul 2013

Challenge to the election of the defendant as a councillor. Mr Ali alleged that Mr Bashir and his electoral ‘team’ had caused false names to be entered on the electoral register for the Ward. The names entered were those of either people who did not reside at the address stated or, in some cases, people who may not have existed at all.
Held: The corrupt practices that occurred in the Ward were sufficiently widespread as to justify a finding of general corruption, and the number of fraudulent votes conclusively proved to have been cast for Mr Bashir exceeded the margin by which he won the election.
Richard Mawrey QC concluded: ‘The Birmingham judgment was the first arising from mass electoral fraud resulting directly from the introduction of postal voting on demand. I had hoped that, by drawing attention to the flawed basis of the scheme and the opportunities it had created for vote-rigging on an industrial scale, public and Parliament would be alerted to the problem and that something might be done about it.
I was wrong.
In Slough, where the problem of roll-stuffing came to the fore and where the combined effect of a wholly insecure registration system and postal voting on demand had allowed the creation of phantom armies of ‘ghost voters’, once again I hoped that some action might be taken.
I was wrong again.
Nine years have passed since the fraudulent Birmingham election and five since the Slough judgment. The media and the public are fully alive to the threat that electoral fraud poses to our democracy. The politicians are in denial and, it must be said, the approach of the Electoral Commission would appear optimistic even to Dr Pangloss.
I concluded the Birmingham Judgment with the words:
‘The systems to deal with fraud are not working well. They are not working badly. The fact is that there are no systems to deal realistically with fraud and there never have been. Until there are, fraud will continue unabated.’
And the Slough Judgment with:
‘It would have been pleasant to conclude this judgment by saying that this had now all changed. But I cannot. Despite the 2006 Act, the opportunities for easy and effective electoral fraud remain substantially as they were on 4th April 2005.’
And here we are again.’

Richard Mawrey QC
[2013] EWHC 2572 (QB)
Representation of the People Act 1983 127
England and Wales


Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.516597