POLICE are now investigating a third complaint about the election in Bradford West, after yet another unsuccessful candidate waded into the row.

Ukip candidate Mohammed 'Harry' Boota claimed he had witnessed "blatant breaches of the electoral laws by both Labour and Respect at the polling stations" on election day last Thursday.

He is the second unsuccessful candidate to allege electoral malpractice, following a complaint from ousted Bradford West MP George Galloway, who lost his seat to Labour's Naz Shah by more than 11,000 votes in last week's General Election.

And a police investigation is also continuing into whether Mr Galloway broke election rules by tweeting the result of an exit poll before polling had ended.


Mr Boota, who came fourth in the fight for Bradford West, said on polling day he had seen both Labour and Respect activists campaigning outside polling stations, handing out leaflets or calling by in poster-clad cars, making announcements via megaphones.

He said he feared this would have unduly influenced how people voted, and had reported the matter to police.

Under election rules, parties cannot campaign in an "aggressive or intimidating" manner outside polling stations on polling day.

Mr Boota claimed the problem was most noticeable in the predominantly Asian areas of Toller, Manningham and Heaton, while it was non-existent in places like Thornton.

He said: "It was heavily in Asian areas that these practices were taking place."

A spokesmen for Respect strenuously denied any wrongdoing, while Labour did not respond to requests for a comment.

The Respect spokesman said before polling day they had been made aware of "one or two banners" near polling stations, which they had taken down in good time as a precautionary measure.

He said the law was unclear about what was and wasn't permissible outside polling stations, but said Respect campaigners were instructed not to hand out literature "within 100 metres of the polling stations".

Detective Inspector Ian Lawrie, of the Economic Crime Unit, said: "We have spoken to Mr Boota regarding his complaint and are also liaising with the Electoral Commission to establish whether any offences have occurred."

Guidance issued by the Electoral Commission to candidates and agents in this year's General Election said: "You must not campaign near polling stations in a way that could be seen by voters as aggressive or intimidating, for example, large groups of supporters carrying banners, or vehicles

with loudspeakers or heavily branded with campaign material."

But a spokesman for the Electoral Commission said it would be for individual police forces and Returning Officers to interpret this guidance and decide what they would and would not allow.