A BNP candidate at the centre of a disputed election count is to report Birmingham City Council to police immediately after she is sworn in as a councillor today.
Sharon Ebanks (pictured) claims a recount, carried out after she was declared the winner in the Kingstanding ward and showing she should have been third, was unlawful.
Ms Ebanks will be sworn in today as Labour prepares an election petition to overturn the disputed result.
The challenge is being backed by the council's chief executive and returning officer Stephen Hughes, with the estimated #30,000 legal costs being borne by council taxpayers.
In a letter to the Kingstanding candidates, Mr Hughes apologised for the "error" which saw Ms Ebanks being declared the winner of one of the two seats in the ward.
He also released figures showing the votes after the recount. These place her third behind her two Labour opponents, not 222 votes ahead.
Mr Hughes signalled to the candidates that the city council would fully support any electoral petition, which will be drawn up by solicitors working for the Labour Group today and tomorrow and filed later this week.
Council officials said they realised almost immediately that tellers had double-counted the votes cast for Ms Ebanks following confusion over the number of seats being contested.
Labour group leader Sir Albert Bore said: "I believe that the costs should be met by the city council because this happened through negligence on their part."
Ms Ebanks, who will be able to claim her #15,000-a-year allowance as a councillor from today, said she would not claim expenses to challenge the petition.
"I would rather see the money spent on a centre for heroin and crack cocaine addicts in Kingstanding," she said.
She disputed the recount and questioned the validity of the procedure carried out after she had left the count.
"This count is meaningless because it happened behind closed doors when myself and the police had left the building.
"Clearly this count will form the strength of any petition challenging the original result, but I do not believe the figures can be used in lieu of the ballot boxes being left unattended."
In his letter to the candidates, Mr Hughes says: "As returning officer I apologise on behalf of the relevant election staff for the error and will work with any such petitioner and the election court to ensure the democratically correct result is implemented.
"In this context, I am satisfied that the correct outcome through the court will be to replace Sharon Ebanks with Catherine Grundy as the democratically elected councillor, along with Zoe Hopkins, for the Kingstanding ward."
A Birmingham City Council spokesman said: "The results showed that more than 12,000 votes had been cast.
"As there were only 4,981 ballot papers, with two votes to be cast per ballot, this means that the maximum number of votes that could have been cast in Kingstanding ward were 9,962. Some votes had therefore been double counted."