"The Nineteenth century saw a great Springtime of Nations as the revolutions of 1848 saw new countries created the length and breadth of Europe. In our world today we are now seeing our own Spring Awakening with people and cultures that have long been dormant and subdued asserting their right to exist, their right to dream." Adam Price MP
Monday, 13 September 2010
Welsh learner refused UK entry
Phil Woolas faces election challenge case
By Channel 4 News
Updated on 13 September 2010
Former Labour minister Phil Woolas has been accused of stirring up racial divisions in a tightly-fought election campaign against his Liberal Democrat rival in the Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency, a court has been told.
The rare hearing at Saddleworth Civic Hall in Uppermill is the first attempt to overturn an election result for ninety nine years.
Two High Court judges are presiding over the five-day hearing, which was called on a rarely-used clause of the representation of the People Act (1983) to declare the 5 May election result void and force a new vote.
Phil Woolas won the constituency with a 103 majority following two recounts.
He beat the Liberal Democrat's Elwyn Watkins - who claimed that two leaflets published during the campaign containing false claims about foreign donations and support from Muslim extremists.
The hearing heard how Mr Woolas's campaign team aimed to "galvanise the white Sun vote" - by depicting an alleged campaign by Muslims to "take Phil out".
Before the hearing, Mr Watkins said the publications featured "numerous misleading and erroneous claims regarding my personal character and reputation, and that of my campaign".
However the onus is on him to prove his case, and Mr Woolas said he would "robustly defend" himself.
The last case of its kind was in 1911, when an election result was successfully challenged on the basis of currupt practices.
A second challenge has also begun today in Northern Ireland over the result in Fermanagh and South Tyrone. Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew won the constituency by just four votes over independent rival Rodney Connor
Let us fervently hope that this most unsavoury of politicians will be forced to resign his seat in Parliament.
The first attempt in almost a century to overturn a general election result for alleged "corrupt practices" has been launched.Skip related content
Labour's Phil Woolas, who was re-elected to the Oldham East and Saddleworth seat in May, faces the rare legal challenge from the defeatedLiberal Democrat candidate, Elwyn Watkins.
Mr Watkins claims campaign material published by his opponent was "misleading" and the result was swayed by attacks in Labour leaflets over foreign donations, support from Muslim extremists and "vote fixing".
Mr Woolas, Labour's former immigrationminister, won the seat on May 6 by just 103 votes following two recounts.
Labour said it will "robustly defend" the case.
Mr Watkins' challenge is based on a rarely-used clause in election laws to declare the result void and force a rerun.