"Bradford Respect candidate should face election ban"

George Galloway and Arshad Ali

George Galloway and Arshad Ali

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , City Hall Reporter

Respect has been accused of hypocrisy in its condemnation of ballot-rigging, after it emerged one of its candidates has been jailed for it in the past.

All three major parties on Bradford Council have called for the law to be changed to ban anyone convicted of electoral fraud from ever standing for public office.

But the candidate himself, Arshad Ali, said he is open and honest about his past and now uses his experience to educate the public about the crime.

Mr Ali, a psychologist who is competing to be elected on to Bradford Council in the Bradford Moor ward, spent six weeks in jail after being convicted for electoral fraud in 1997.

Mr Ali said the conviction happened “half a lifetime ago” when he was a “naive” Labour activist in Halifax.

He said: “I believe things happen for a reason and the reason this happened to me was so I could open this debate up and use my own personal experience and influence to try to eradicate that. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and suffered the consequences of it.”

Mr Ali said he had spent the past ten years campaigning against electoral fraud. And he said in the run-up to this year’s election, he had been delivering leaflets door-to-door to homes in Bradford, warning people about the signs of fraud.

Respect has long condemned electoral fraud, and last month its leader, Bradford West MP George Galloway, again warned of its dangers. This prompted Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, leader of the Liberal Democrats, to accuse the party of “absolutely outrageous” hypocrisy.

She called for the law to be changed so those convicted of the crime were barred for life from public office.

This call was backed by both Council leader Councillor David Green (Lab) and Conservative leader Councillor Glen Miller. Coun Green said: “I would share Coun Sunderland’s view that it is somewhat hypocritical of a party running a campaign that raises the spectre of electoral fraud to then be running a candidate who has got a conviction for it.”

But Respect’s national secretary, Ron McKay, hit back, saying Mr Ali had “campaigned remorselessly against electoral fraud” in recent years.

The Electoral Commission confirmed that such a conviction would not prevent someone from standing for office, providing it was more than five years old. The other candidates fighting for the Bradford Moor seat on Bradford Council are Riaz Ahmed (Lib Dem), Mohammed Shafiq (Lab) and Mohammed Tunveer (Con).

Comments (12)

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7:12am Fri 9 May 14

Albion. says...

Doubtless there will be many still willing to vote for him and probably for non-political reasons.
Doubtless there will be many still willing to vote for him and probably for non-political reasons. Albion.
  • Score: 18

7:26am Fri 9 May 14

UNCLE1 says...

Labour probably already has councillors that have been sacked from school governing bodies. The same people may have recent convictions for drink driving. Bradford Council don't seem to believe in leading from the front!
Labour probably already has councillors that have been sacked from school governing bodies. The same people may have recent convictions for drink driving. Bradford Council don't seem to believe in leading from the front! UNCLE1
  • Score: 16

8:14am Fri 9 May 14

collos25 says...

The council wants to look at its self full of chancers without any ability whatsoever.
The council wants to look at its self full of chancers without any ability whatsoever. collos25
  • Score: 7

8:23am Fri 9 May 14

bd7 helper says...

Respect make rules but fall in they own trap!
Respect make rules but fall in they own trap! bd7 helper
  • Score: 15

8:24am Fri 9 May 14

bd7 helper says...

Another money making scam for councillors
Another money making scam for councillors bd7 helper
  • Score: 13

8:33am Fri 9 May 14

Not so simple says...

What exactly have the respect MP and their Councillors actually done for the city since it's election....more articles about them infighting and playing party politics then anything else.

Also it's just not respect councillors: what about the rest of the councillors: what have they done for this city apart from be a burden upon the taxpayers.

In my opinion ALL those in the council should be sacked and replaced with people who have no political affiliation to any party and that includes the independent parties such as PEACE? and others.

We need all independent candidates who can stand up and fight for their constituents rather then spineless burdens on the tax payers who do do not dare speak out of line in with their party at the expense of the people who voted for them.

Finally ; to all those who wait for these set councillors: wake up and get rid of them for good as you guys are the ones who keep losing out each time they come to power....yes it's all about power and has nothing to do with the betterment of this city!
What exactly have the respect MP and their Councillors actually done for the city since it's election....more articles about them infighting and playing party politics then anything else. Also it's just not respect councillors: what about the rest of the councillors: what have they done for this city apart from be a burden upon the taxpayers. In my opinion ALL those in the council should be sacked and replaced with people who have no political affiliation to any party and that includes the independent parties such as PEACE? and others. We need all independent candidates who can stand up and fight for their constituents rather then spineless burdens on the tax payers who do do not dare speak out of line in with their party at the expense of the people who voted for them. Finally ; to all those who wait for these set councillors: wake up and get rid of them for good as you guys are the ones who keep losing out each time they come to power....yes it's all about power and has nothing to do with the betterment of this city! Not so simple
  • Score: 16

9:10am Fri 9 May 14

RollandSmoke says...

Not so simple wrote:
What exactly have the respect MP and their Councillors actually done for the city since it's election....more articles about them infighting and playing party politics then anything else.

Also it's just not respect councillors: what about the rest of the councillors: what have they done for this city apart from be a burden upon the taxpayers.

In my opinion ALL those in the council should be sacked and replaced with people who have no political affiliation to any party and that includes the independent parties such as PEACE? and others.

We need all independent candidates who can stand up and fight for their constituents rather then spineless burdens on the tax payers who do do not dare speak out of line in with their party at the expense of the people who voted for them.

Finally ; to all those who wait for these set councillors: wake up and get rid of them for good as you guys are the ones who keep losing out each time they come to power....yes it's all about power and has nothing to do with the betterment of this city!
I would welcome more independents as it would be much more democratic to have those independent voices but unfortunately the system is set up to discourage them from standing. Even if they can afford to gamble the deposit they are unlikely to get the publicity to even see that deposit returned and would be competing with parties that are heavily bankrolled through the run up to any election. Any independent standing without some form of party support would likely find themselves spending most of their time trying to counter the dirty tricks campaigns of the other parties.
[quote][p][bold]Not so simple[/bold] wrote: What exactly have the respect MP and their Councillors actually done for the city since it's election....more articles about them infighting and playing party politics then anything else. Also it's just not respect councillors: what about the rest of the councillors: what have they done for this city apart from be a burden upon the taxpayers. In my opinion ALL those in the council should be sacked and replaced with people who have no political affiliation to any party and that includes the independent parties such as PEACE? and others. We need all independent candidates who can stand up and fight for their constituents rather then spineless burdens on the tax payers who do do not dare speak out of line in with their party at the expense of the people who voted for them. Finally ; to all those who wait for these set councillors: wake up and get rid of them for good as you guys are the ones who keep losing out each time they come to power....yes it's all about power and has nothing to do with the betterment of this city![/p][/quote]I would welcome more independents as it would be much more democratic to have those independent voices but unfortunately the system is set up to discourage them from standing. Even if they can afford to gamble the deposit they are unlikely to get the publicity to even see that deposit returned and would be competing with parties that are heavily bankrolled through the run up to any election. Any independent standing without some form of party support would likely find themselves spending most of their time trying to counter the dirty tricks campaigns of the other parties. RollandSmoke
  • Score: -5

9:25am Fri 9 May 14

sorrow&anger says...

Hardly surprising. There's another T&A story today about Bradford being in a low pay crisis. Poverty and fraud, particularly political fraud, seem to go together. Look at any emerging nation.

The question is, what proactive steps is our Returning Officer/Chief Executive taking to rid Bradford of ballot rigging? As usual the answer is, not a lot.
Hardly surprising. There's another T&A story today about Bradford being in a low pay crisis. Poverty and fraud, particularly political fraud, seem to go together. Look at any emerging nation. The question is, what proactive steps is our Returning Officer/Chief Executive taking to rid Bradford of ballot rigging? As usual the answer is, not a lot. sorrow&anger
  • Score: 25

12:37pm Fri 9 May 14

Apollo says...

I doubt any fool will vote for Respect after it became apparent that George only courted the votes of a minority dumb enough to believe him.

Respect is dead in the water. Do not waste your vote on it.
I doubt any fool will vote for Respect after it became apparent that George only courted the votes of a minority dumb enough to believe him. Respect is dead in the water. Do not waste your vote on it. Apollo
  • Score: 6

7:19pm Fri 9 May 14

Thee Voice of Reason says...

sorrow&anger wrote:
Hardly surprising. There's another T&A story today about Bradford being in a low pay crisis. Poverty and fraud, particularly political fraud, seem to go together. Look at any emerging nation.

The question is, what proactive steps is our Returning Officer/Chief Executive taking to rid Bradford of ballot rigging? As usual the answer is, not a lot.
More bothered about how he spends his near £200k a year.
[quote][p][bold]sorrow&anger[/bold] wrote: Hardly surprising. There's another T&A story today about Bradford being in a low pay crisis. Poverty and fraud, particularly political fraud, seem to go together. Look at any emerging nation. The question is, what proactive steps is our Returning Officer/Chief Executive taking to rid Bradford of ballot rigging? As usual the answer is, not a lot.[/p][/quote]More bothered about how he spends his near £200k a year. Thee Voice of Reason
  • Score: 4

7:57pm Fri 9 May 14

RollandSmoke says...

Yesterday it was reported that someone had set up a twitter account claiming to be from the respect party and was posting vile comments in order to discredit them. This would seem to be the underhanded way that politics is done nowadays. We currently have a poster calling himself bradfordboyz who is pretending to be Asian in order to stir up racial tensions and boasting about being a scrounger in order to justify the ongoing attacks on the unemployed. I don't believe he is either and is nothing more than a shill. This kind of dirty underhanded political game playing is allowed to continue by the T&A even after this poster has started indulging in disability hate. If this is what the parties must do in order to garner support then they aren't worth voting for. We have been conned by the politicians and their teams of shills. This is not politics it is deception. The Tory voters are lapping up this obvious shill's comments but then they like liars don't they?
Yesterday it was reported that someone had set up a twitter account claiming to be from the respect party and was posting vile comments in order to discredit them. This would seem to be the underhanded way that politics is done nowadays. We currently have a poster calling himself bradfordboyz who is pretending to be Asian in order to stir up racial tensions and boasting about being a scrounger in order to justify the ongoing attacks on the unemployed. I don't believe he is either and is nothing more than a shill. This kind of dirty underhanded political game playing is allowed to continue by the T&A even after this poster has started indulging in disability hate. If this is what the parties must do in order to garner support then they aren't worth voting for. We have been conned by the politicians and their teams of shills. This is not politics it is deception. The Tory voters are lapping up this obvious shill's comments but then they like liars don't they? RollandSmoke
  • Score: -10

9:29pm Mon 12 May 14

tanyaloolee says...

Well noted rolly. This shill has been recognised as a sad Tory attempt at gaining votes by inciting hatred towards Muslim people and our disabled and most vulnerable. This snooze papers part in this shill type of deception and the inciting of hatred towards the above is shameful and so obvious that it's laughable. They reek of desperation and this issue has even been mentioned on the local forum. Not everyone in Bradford is as green or cabbage looking as the Tory scrum like to think they are and the local Tory leader will I'm afraid lose many votes in the very near future due to this underhand deceptive type of play. No one wants a bigoted bum licking creep standing up for them after all.
Well noted rolly. This shill has been recognised as a sad Tory attempt at gaining votes by inciting hatred towards Muslim people and our disabled and most vulnerable. This snooze papers part in this shill type of deception and the inciting of hatred towards the above is shameful and so obvious that it's laughable. They reek of desperation and this issue has even been mentioned on the local forum. Not everyone in Bradford is as green or cabbage looking as the Tory scrum like to think they are and the local Tory leader will I'm afraid lose many votes in the very near future due to this underhand deceptive type of play. No one wants a bigoted bum licking creep standing up for them after all. tanyaloolee
  • Score: -1

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