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History made as mayor will not announce election results

PUBLISHED: 11:58 08 April 2010 | UPDATED: 16:53 07 September 2010

THE elections in Camden are set to make history this year because for the first time the borough's mayor will not be announcing the results. Cllr Omar Faruque Ansari has refused to step down as mayor after he was arrested in January over a disability bene

THE elections in Camden are set to make history this year because for the first time the borough's mayor will not be announcing the results.

Cllr Omar Faruque Ansari has refused to step down as mayor after he was arrested in January over a disability benefit fraud resulting from an investigation by the Department for Work and Pensions.

The mayor is traditionally the returning officer in the two parliamentary seats in Camden, responsible for overseeing the elections and announcing the results.

Opposition councillors are calling for Cllr Ansari to resign ahead of the elections on May 6 to save Camden any embarrassment.

Leader of the Conservatives Cllr Andrew Marshall said: "This is a very unfortunate situation. I urge Cllr Ansari for one last time to resign, in the

interests of the borough.

"Similarly, I urge Camden's Liberal Democrats to try one last time to

persuade their colleague to resign and avoid this

embarrassment."

Cllr Marshall said he was aware Camden is in the capable hands of acting returning officer Moira Gibb but added: "It is

however a bizarre situation.

"If a returning officer in Iraq or Afghanistan or

elsewhere was in this

situation, our newspapers and commentators would have a field day."

Labour councillor Jonathan Simpson said: "In light of the circumstances we cannot let the mayor, who is facing serious allegations of fraud, talk about electoral prospects or candidates.

"It sheds very bad light on the whole of democracy."

Cllr Ansari was charged last week with three counts of fraud relating to the investigation but has protested his innocence and

remained as the mayor and councillor for Kentish Town, despite being

suspended by the Liberal Democrat party.

Leader of the Council and the Liberal Democrats, Keith Moffitt said: "This is a purely ceremonial role - he is the one who reads out the results but he is not going to be doing that.

"We have repeatedly urged Cllr Ansari to step down as Mayor and we have made it very clear all along that it is what he should do.

"I have tried to contact him but he has not returned my calls.


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