Brian Rose confronted and fined by police for campaigning
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Former banker Brian Rose, who is standing against Mr Khan in May 6’s election, has lambasted police after he and his team were hit with £200 fines while leafleting in Southwark in what he has branded a “violation of the democratic process”. And he also suggested the current situation – which effectively bans volunteers – gives the current Mayor of London, who is also London’s Police and Crime Commissioner, an unfair advantage, while launching a scathing attack on Mr Khan.
The incident occurred despite the fact that Mr Rose was using a “Covid-secure” campaign bus to which members of the public did not have access.
A clip of the exchange has now been viewed on social media platforms nearly one million times.
Rose, 49, a New York-born ex-Wall Street banker who has lived in London for 20 years, told Express.co.uk: “Khan has been using police as photographic props in public while I have been fined while using a Covid-secure campaign bus.
The whole thing stinks to high heaven
“Khan has been banging his drum in public while other candidates have been told they can’t use volunteers to get their messages out to voters.
“The whole thing stinks to high heaven. If it’s not a deliberate ploy by the mayor – whose job, remember, includes holding the Metropolitan Police to account – then he should explain why it’s okay for him to swan around with officers and photographers, while other candidates have their democratic rights restricted.”
He said: “The police stopped, detained and fined me and four of my crew, and banned us from campaigning.
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“They’ve now told us it’s ok to leaflet but only if a private company is doing the leafleting.
“Volunteers can’t leaflet, which by definition seems to imply that if you’re an independent candidate or smaller party, and don’t have the funds, then you can’t campaign.
“This seems to be a major violation of the democratic process.
“How can you hold free and fair elections if you can’t educate the public who the candidates are?”
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Mr Rose was stopped at the start of a tour of all 32 London boroughs in what he describes as the world’s first Covid-secure, fully digital battle bus, complete with on-board TV studio facilities for live streaming – which resulted in 3.5 million unique visitors to the Digital Battle Bus Tour site, 65 percent of whom were from Greater London.
And after writing to both City of London and Metropolitan police forces to seek guidance to ask why he was fined, Mr Rose said he was dissatisfied by the response.
He explained: “I was walking down the middle of the road and live streaming on my phone when I was surrounded by ten City of London police officers who had approached in five police vans.
“I thought there was something fundamentally wrong with criminalising the right to campaign.
“I know the police have a very difficult job but I told them I thought it was political.”
Together with his legal team, Mr Rose drafted a five-page letter which he sent to the London police commissioners – including Mr Khan – and returned to the campaign trail.
He added: “We were stopped two days later by the Met police but I wasn’t on the bus and they let us continue, and since then we’ve been ready to be pulled over, stopped and arrested any moment – but we haven’t been.
“This felt very political – why come after us? The police had been watching what we’d been doing for two days, as they told us when they fined us.
“We received a reply from the police and they clarified the issue of leafleting – which was interesting because I wasn’t leafleting and they still fined us.
“We’re moving forward with our digital campaign and I think these laws need to be looked at – this latest statement by the police does not seem fair.”
Lockdown rules are stipulated by the Home Office rather than by Mr Khan.
Express.co.uk has contacted the Mayor’s office offering Mr Khan an opportunity to respond to Mr Rose’s remarks.
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