The police have been asked to investigate a possible case of electoral fraud involving one of the candidates standing to become Croydon’s first executive Mayor in this Thursday’s local elections.
A formal complaint has been filed to the Metropolitan Police raising concerns that the Taking The Initiative Party candidate Farah London, also known as Farah Farazad, fails to meet the candidate qualifications required to stand for election in Croydon.
Farazad-London has failed to respond to repeated enquiries from Inside Croydon about whether she really does have a home in Croydon or any properly established business premises.
The police have become involved because the office of the election’s Returning Officer, council chief executive Katherine Kerswell, says it cannot investigate the matter and remain impartial over the conduct and organisation of the borough-wide poll on May 5.
London is a former supporter of the Conservative Party and backer of Boris Johnson.
According to Companies House records, she has continued to use the surname Farazad in business as recently as September 2021.
But in May last year she stood as “Farah London” as an independent candidate in the London Mayor elections.
Then she attracted just 11,000 votes and finished 14th, behind other fringe candidates including Peter Gammons, of UKIP, an Animal Welfare candidate, anti-vaxxer Piers Corbyn and Count Binface.
At that election, Farah London gave her home address as being in Tower Hamlets. A number of her campaign photographs and videos this year have shown London on the balcony of an apartment with the Tower of London or Tower Bridge in the background.
While in her election literature Farazad-London has stressed that she was born in Croydon, that of itself is not enough to qualify as an election candidate in the borough.
Quite within her rights, she has withheld the detail of her home address from ballot papers and material distributed to voters, but she will have had to submit a home address or business premises in the borough of Croydon, established over the whole of the previous 12 months, with her nomination papers in order to qualify to stand as a candidate for elected Mayor.
Inside Croydon understands that it is these details that the Metropolitan Police have been asked to check and verify.
According to Croydon’s electoral services department, in addition to being at least 18 years of age, and being a British citizen, an eligible Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of any member state of the European Union, a candidate must meet one of these four qualifications:
1, You are, and will continue to be, registered as a local government elector for the local authority area in which you wish to stand from the day of your nomination onwards.
2, You have occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the local authority area during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of the election.
3, Your main or only place of work during the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election has been in the local authority area.
4, You have lived in the local authority area during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of the election.
According to a council source, “Given that 12 months ago Farah London was standing in public elections when living in another borough, there must be considerable doubt whether she meets the qualifying requirements.”
Companies House public records show Farazad-London as a director of a string of businesses, some unsuccessful and placed in liquidation. None of the companies listed is registered at a Croydon address.
According to the council’s electoral services department, “There is no right to objection to a nomination paper at this election, and there is no mechanism in electoral law for a Returning Officer to investigate the qualifications or the name of a candidate as included on the nomination papers.
“There is case law which makes clear that Returning Officers must not undertake any investigation or research into any candidate and that their duty does not go beyond seeing that a nomination form is correct on its face.
“Providing false information on a nomination paper is an election offence, and would be considered a corrupt practice.
“Only the police would be able to investigate this.”
- For the official list of council election candidates, by ward, click here
- For our report on the eight candidates for Croydon Mayor, click here
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