'Partygate' police looking at Havering Council election count complaints

Havering Town Hall and a police belt

The same Metropolitan Police department which investigated the Downing Street 'partygate' scandal is now assessing complaints about the integrity of Havering Council's election last week - Credit: Archant / PA Archive/PA Images

Detectives from the Met Police’s Special Enquiry Team are looking into multiple complaints about the integrity of last week's Havering Council elections, the force has confirmed.

The Recorder reported earlier this week that former councillor Jeff Tucker – who lost his Rainham and Wennington seat in the polls – had filed a police report about alleged problems with the count.

This newspaper has now learned that at least one other person has reported concerns to the police.

The complainants allege an unauthorised person went behind the desks where volunteers were counting ballots – an area which should be off-limits to all but election officials.

Mr Tucker has also alleged he was told somebody had “found a bundle” of votes for the Rainham and Wennington ward after the initial count had already taken place.

“I was in touch with the police as soon as I could – straight away,” he said.

The reports are now being assessed by the same Met Police department which was tasked with investigating the Downing Street “partygate” gatherings.

Complaints have also been made to the Electoral Commission, which is looking into them as part of a report.

Most Read

“We are aware of these allegations and have received complaints on this issue. We are in contact with the council,” said the commission.

“We do not have a direct role in investigating allegations of electoral fraud; this is carried out by the police.

“We are aware that there have been complaints made to the police on this matter, so it would be for them to take any further action, if one is necessary.

“We have now started a process to gather evidence so that we can formally report on how the polls were run in the autumn.

“We will be looking at this situation as part of that report, and through the lens of our performance standards for returning officers.”

The Recorder put the allegations to Havering Council, but it said: “We cannot comment while an investigation is ongoing.”

For more, read:

Havering 'aware of complaints' about ward's election count