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18 September 2010

Phil Woolas election ruling in October

Judges delay decision over Labour MP’s ethnically divisive campaign.

By Daniel Trilling

Phil Woolas, the Labour MP who is facing a court challenge to his re-election this year from his Lib Dem opponent, Elwyn Watkins, will now have to wait until October for the court’s decision, reports the BBC.

The case, the first of its kind in 99 years, centres on whether Woolas made misleading comments about Watkins in campaign material, some of which suggested that the Lib Dems were canvassing support from Islamic extremists.

As my colleague George Eaton has already argued, it appears that Woolas’s campaign was deliberately designed to whip up ethnic tensions in Oldham, a city that suffered race riots less than a decade ago — something that, regardless of the court’s decision, will mark it out as “one of the most disgraceful election campaigns in recent history”.

 

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