Aston Liberal Democrat Councillor Ayoub Khan last night claimed the people had spoken and shown he was "fit to hold office" after retaining his seat in the inner city ward.

He claimed victory after the recent election court case in which he was criticised by a High Court judge.

Coun Khan gained a majority of 352 votes, ahead of Labour candidate Hussain Amjad. His election was greeted with animated cheers from his supporters, including last year’s Lib Dem candidate Saeed Aehmed who was also criticised by the judge.

Accepting the nomination, Coun Khan said: "I want to thank my supporters who helped me and the people of Aston who have made the choice Councillor Khan is still fit to hold office. The message goes out to Labour - Aston supports Councillor Khan and the work he has done."

Speaking to The Birmingham Post, Coun Khan admitted getting a positive result in the wake of recent negative press had mattered "enormously".

He added: "This result demonstrates the people of Aston know what Khan is about. The press articles put out against me were scurrilous. We fought a very clean campaign."

Coun Khan and former Lib Dem candidate Saeed Aehmed were at the centre of controversy in the wake of last year’s election.

Mr Aehmed brought a petition against the ward’s Labour councillor Muhammad Afzal, claiming he had won the 2007 council election on the back of a smear campaign against him.

But instead of admonishing Mr Afzal, Elections Commissioner Timothy Straker QC delivered a stern rebuke of Mr Aehmed and Coun Khan.

He accused Mr Aehmed – who has been claiming incapacity benefit for 27 years – of "dishonestly" obtaining £16,000 of disability improvement grants for his home. He found Mr Aehmed "grossly exaggerated" his symptoms when applying for the grants.

Mr Straker also found councillor Khan had taken part in a "scurrilous" plot to falsely implicate Coun Afzal in an attempt to intimidate witnesses.

Last night Mr Aehmed said: "The judge made a bad judgement. He was from London. He didn’t know the community of Aston or the Asian community. The people of Aston know us.

"They know who is good and who is bad."

Aston’s result will have been one of the most closely scrutinised in Birmingham in the wake of a series of election scandals affecting the ward.

Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby (Con Harborne) last month warned the judge’s criticism of Liberal Democrats could prove to be a "defining moment" in efforts to tackle malpractice at the ballot box.

He said all political parties equally bore a responsibility to clean up politics in Birmingham, adding: "Those who manipulate votes will sabotage our democratic system.

"It is a defining moment and we need to take time to reflect."

Three years ago another Aston election court found Labour candidates to have been involved in postal-vote rigging.

At the time, judge Richard Mawrey QC likened democracy in Birmingham to a "banana republic".

Conservative party leader David Cameron added his voice to concerns over the Aston situation last month during a visit to Birmingham.

He said: "These are issues for the Lib Dems but clearly every party has a responsibility to root out unacceptable behaviour and meet all the rules and regulations for proper behaviour in politics."

> Election coverage