One down, three to go.
Last week we wrote about our cursory examination of the official Statement of Persons Nominated document which seemed to indicate that four of the 258 council candidates do not meet residency requirements for local elections.
As we expected the failure is in the documentation, not the candidates. Well, one at least.
Jack Briggs, Liberal Democrat candidate for the Limehouse ward, promptly wrote to us to explain why the document might seem to say that he lives in New Southgate he completely fulfils all residency requirements.
Over to you Jack!
“I’ve been living on boats for nearly five years now and sadly often find it hard to receive post. As a result I use a family residence as my postal address. I’ve been living on Limehouse Marina for the past three years and prior to that lived on a narrowboat near the Wood Wharf development.
Additionally my place of work has been in Limehouse and Wapping for the past three years.
There’s three alternative ways of being eligible to stand, but yet only [a] listed residence appears on the public record. The other two routes are not visible.
I accept I’m unusual because I live on a boat, but the clear distinction between candidates simply via address is hugely misleading.”
Other bobbing candidates are available
Well said Jack! (Other candidates who may live on other boats are available blah blah blah…)
And we know Jack is telling the truth because after exchanging emails we realised that the Wapping Mole used to be one of Jack’s neighbours on Limehouse Marina a couple of years back and, er, Moley has met Jack a few times. We just didn’t know his name. Doh!
Which fact also reinforces the inaccuracy of the official Statement of Persons Nominated and Notice of Poll document (PDF).
The reason for the document stating that People’s Alliance of Tower Hamlets (PATH) candidates Adam O’Connell, Syed Ansar Miah and Ahbab Miah live in Barking, Dagenham and Camberwell is still unknown.
As with Jack Briggs LW would love to be able to clear up the confusion here so please don’t be shy to get in touch Adam, Syed and Ahbab! A simple email to email@example.com will do.
Jack Briggs is, as he explains, qualified to stand as a local councillor as he lives and works in the borough but uses a family address for post because of the problems those residents who are fortunate to live on boats encounter.
So a cursory glance at the official documentation is misleading. So why is it published in its existing form? We have asked the Council’s Returning Officer but no reply as yet.
This is not a problem specific to Tower Hamlets, other local authorities use exactly the same documentation.
As with many aspect of local elections the documentation is not fit for purpose. If the basics are flawed it is understandable that many electors have doubts about the integrity of the entire electoral system.