30 September 2010
Baroness Warsi and election fraud
Baroness Warsi has been interviewed in the current issue of the New Statesman by Mehdi Hassan. I have not read the article (it not being online and I still not feeling quite my best and thau with no plans to leave the house today) but going by his New Stateman blog it is clear that Warsi has made some serious but unsubstantiated allegations. about Labour electoral frud
…. the chairman of the Conservative Party and minister without portfolio, in this week's New Statesman, she makes a remarkable claim about the extent of electoral fraud at the last general election and
"At least three seats where we lost, where we didn't gain the seat, based on electoral fraud. Now, could we have planned for that in the campaign? Absolutely not."
This is the first time a senior minister has made such a blunt and specific allegation about the impact of electoral fraud on the general election result.
Can she reveal the names of those seats?
"I think it would be wrong to start identifying them," she says, but adds: "It is predominantly within the Asian community. I have to look back and say we didn't do well in those communities, but was there something over and above that we could have done? Well, actually not, if there is going to be voter fraud."
I asked Warsi if she believed the Labour Party in those three seats had benefited from the alleged fraud. Her answer?
Hmm to say “I think it would be wrong to identify them” is simply not good enough. If she has good evidence of fraud then it is her absolute duty to ensure that the evidence is presented to the police forthwith. If this is a case of hearsay or just sour grapes then she should not make such allegations.
I’m not saying that Warsi is lying. There were indeed cases of alleged fraud at the last election: for example in Two men were arrested in April on suspicion of electoral fraud in April, This took place in Halifax, a marginal seat where Labour did win.
And it is not hard to find example of convictions for electoral fraud here are a few from the last two years or so:
In 2008 Tory activist John Hall was fined £1000 after duping people to fill in proxy voter forms during the 2007 Winchester City Council elections.
Last year six men were jailed for sentences varying from fourh to forty months for election fraud during an election in the Slough Central ward in May 2007 where . Labour councillor Lydia Simmons lost her seat to Tory Raja Khan.
In April a former Tory councillor was found guilty of election fraud at Bradford Crown Court. Mohammed Saghir had fraudulently applied for five proxy votes in other people's names in the May 2008 local election.
Just a few weeks ago Five men, including two former councillors, were jailed for their parts in a failed postal votes scam intended to get a Conservative candidate elected in the 2005 general election. A newspaper investigation and police inquiry had unearthed a plot to get Tory candidate Haroon Rashid elected in the marginal Bradford West seat using hundreds of fraudulent postal vote applications. The five were jailed for between 11 and 31 months.
Hmm seems like there is a problem after all!