Deadline expires for legal challenge over George Galloway election defeat

George Galloway

George Galloway has missed a deadline to bring a legal challenge against the election result in Bradford West, where he lost his seat to Labour by more than 11,000 votes.

After being defeated by Naz Shah last month, the former Respect MP vowed to challenge the result in court, saying: “It has come to my notice that there has been widespread malpractice in this election, particularly over postal voting. We are in the process of compiling the information which will form part of our petition to have the result set aside.”

Last week while announcing that he planned to stand for mayor of London, Galloway insisted a legal challenge to the Bradford West result was still in play.

In an interview last Thursday, he said: “It is not me who is making that attempt and it is being made and it will be made in the next few hours. An election petition will be launched by citizens in Bradford to do that.”

But under electoral law, anyone seeking to petition a general election result must normally do so within three weeks of the result being announced – a deadline that passed last Friday, 29 May, the day after Galloway made his remarks.

In exceptional cases further time may be allowed if the petition questions the election on the grounds of corrupt or illegal practices involving the payment of money or some other reward or is in connection with election expenses.

During the bitter campaign for Bradford West, Galloway accused Shah of making an “untrue and extremely serious” allegation against him on a popular Urdu TV channel. He also alleged she had lied about being forced into marriage in Pakistan at 15 – an allegation Shah strongly denies.

According to the election petition office at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, two petitions were submitted by the three-week deadline following May’s general election.

One is against Nadine Dorries, who was returned as Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire with a hugely increased majority of 23,327. Tim Ireland, who stood against her as an independent candidate, polling 384 votes, accuses her of being “guilty of illegal practices by publishing false statements prior to the election”.

The second petition challenges the result in Woking, Surrey. Ruth Temple, who stood for the Magna Carta Conservation party Great Britain, accuses the Tory victor, Jonathan Lord, of having been ineligible to stand as a candidate.

Challenges against a parliamentary election by anyone who had the right to vote, by an unsuccessful candidate or by a person alleging to have been a candidate. It costs £485 to submit a petition, along with a deposit of up to £5,000 against future legal bills, known as “security for costs”.

Powered by article was written by Helen Pidd Northern editor, for on Thursday 4th June 2015 17.17 Europe/ © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010