A candidate in Oldham’s local elections who narrowly lost out to Labour is launching a legal challenge against the result.

In the local elections on May 6, independent candidate Montaz Ali Azad was beaten by Abdul Jabbar in the Coldhurst ward by just 71 votes.

Mr Ali Azad had polled 2,171 votes to Councillor Jabbar’s 2,242 votes.

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Jean Betteridge also had stood in Coldhurst for the Green Party, David Cahill for the Conservatives, and Mick Scholes for the Liberal Democrats.

The second placed candidate, who was a former Labour councillor, has now launched an election petition against the result.

This includes that the local election was ‘badly run’.

“My polling agents were not allowed to enter polling stations from 7am until around 12.30pm to represent me in the polling stations due to elections office error,” the petition states.

“That the ballot boxes could not have been checked it was empty before it was sealed by the presiding officers.

“My polling agents could not assist me in detecting incidences of personation (sic) by not being able to enter the polling stations.

“That the polling station mobile unit co2, maygate, had a very small portacabin allowing one in one out which resulted in long queue and this deterred would be voters waiting in the adverse weather.”

Mr Ali Azad says that he believes as a result of these reasons the ‘election was void’ and that a re-election should be authorised.

Councillor Abdul Jabbar

A copy of the petition is to served on Coun Jabbar, and also on the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Following the launching of a petition, a date for a hearing will be set.

At the hearing a judge can appoint a commissioner to manage the complaint.

The commissioner will look at the evidence, for example by checking the voting slips.

If the commissioner thinks there should be a trial, it will normally be at a court in the constituency where the result if being challenged.

At the trial Mr Ali Azad, and the Coun Jabbar will each present their cases to the commissioner. Both sides can call witnesses to give evidence.

It usually takes several weeks to get a judgement, and the decision cannot be appealed.