LONDON ELECTION 2012: Labour’s Shah retains Brent and Harrow seat after lengthy delays at Alexandra Palace


Shah retained the seat at Brent and Harrow with little contest from Conservative Sachin Rajput.


By SWLondoner staff

Labour’s Navin Shah has retained his seat at Brent and Harrow but was kept waiting for hours before being allowed to celebrate due to the discovery of two unscanned ballot boxes being found at Alexandra Palace.  

Shah brushed off competition from Conservative candidate Sachin Rajput but his win was overshadowed by the long delay.

The announcement was the last of the 14 constituency results – there were reports that two batches of ballot boxes went to storage without some ballot papers being manually entered as required.

The Deputy Returning Officer at Alexandra Palace said this was the second worst delay he had ever experienced.

“Nothing else can go wrong,” he said.

“Two boxes were missed because a scanner failed to pick up the boxes.”     

The London Assembly constituency registered a dominant win for Labour leaving the Tories trailing in what is usually a hotly contested seat.

Liberal Democratic candidate Charlotte Alexandra Henry garnered little gain for her party from 2008 but retained third place.  

Sharar Ali for the Green Party came in fourth with Michael Jack McGough, standing for Fresh Choice for London, close behind.  

“I’m really looking forward to a London-wide Labour presence, it sends out a clear message to the coalition,” Shah said.

Manual scanning taking place at Ally Pally

“People are essentially sending a vote of no-confidence. We put in a lot of effort – it has been about engaging with the community not just the election.

He added: “If Boris wins the opposition would still have enough for 2/3 in the assembly.

“Our team will be holding the Mayor to account in the most robust fashion. He has been bad news for London. I have not seen an ounce of vision, he’s been a complete and utter disaster for Londoners.

“Crime is on the rise, there are unprecedented pub trans fares and fire stations are having to be closed.

“There is work to be done from central government, and Boris is part and parcel of all that.

“The government are so short-sighted and have no ideas- we have four years of challenge ahead and we will give them a torrid time on behalf of Londoners.”

Shah celebrating his Brent and Harrow victory

Rajput was quick to congratulate Shah for his victory and insisted it was a great pleasure to obtain a good amount of votes for the Conservatives.

“Although we didn’t win the seat all the votes will go to help towards Boris retaining Mayor of London,” he said.

“I want to congrtaulate Mr Shah wholeheartedly for a dead-clean campaign although I do know that many people are unhappy with local council in Brent and Harrow.

“I do hope going forward that these issues are addressed and we will carry on fighting on behalf of the residents of Brent and Harrow.”

When asked whether he would be running again he simply replied ‘watch this space’.

Shah was first elected in 2008 with 1% more of the vote than Conservative Bob Blackman in the only constituency to have changed hands since the Assembly’s formation.

The first Indian to be elected to the assembly, Shah is a trustee of Harrow Anti-Racist Alliance and a member of the Ethnic Minority Taskforce.  

The Mayor of London contest was far closer with Ken just pipping Boris for the vote from Brent and Harrow.

Reporting Team: Nicholas Bonfield, Daniel Chipperfield, Lydia Morton and Tom Sweetman

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