University hustings organisers respond to result-rigging accusations
EXCLUSIVE: Organisers have countered accusations made on social media that hustings results were rigged in favour of a Labour candidate who gained the most votes.
The accusations were made following a hustings event held at the University of Bradford on 16 April, held for prospective parliamentary candidates for Bradford West.
Results tallied at the end of the event showed Labour candidate Naz Shah (Labour) in the lead with 44 votes.
She was followed by Celia Hickson (Green) with 28, George Galloway (Respect) with 15, George Grant (Conservative) with 12, James Kirkcaldy (Independent) with 6, Alun Griffiths (Liberal Democrats) with 3, Harry Boota (UKIP) with 2, and Therese Hirst (English Democrats) with 1.
Three votes were counted as spoilt, and two votes went to chair Professor Donna Lee.
But some attendees claimed there were not enough people at the hustings and took to social media to share their concerns to the public, accusing the organisers of rigging the results.
One, who requested not to be named, said: “I found the results of the poll questionable as I did not see that many people at the hustings. My friends started questioning the results immediately as the numbers did not add up.
“It all seems very strange, I think the results should be investigated by the university. If they have been rigged in favour of the Labour candidate then this is a real series matter as it discredits the whole hustings and the organisers.”
George Galloway MP, said the event was a “shameful rigged set up” on the day of the event when some media agencies had been apparently “locked out” of the debate.
— George Galloway (@georgegalloway) April 16, 2015
But on the university website, details of the event said it was open to “students and staff at the University of Bradford”.
The Yorkshire Standard can reveal that 164 people were recorded in attendance and in total there were 116 ballot papers submitted, less than those in attendance.
Commenting on the accusations made of results being rigged, an officer from the Students’ Union said: “For a non-politically aligned Students’ Union there would be no benefit or advantages to deliberately rigging the result. We organised the event to allow our students the chance to meet and question the candidates and make up their minds themselves.
“Whoever is elected as the member of Parliament for Bradford West is someone who this Students’ Union would like to work with – we represent the students of the University of Bradford – a key voice in this great city – a relationship that we would not want to tarnish, compromise or sacrifice.”