Wednesday, January 23, 2008

LibDems Look Both Ways on Electoral Fraud

I was struck by THIS post by Stephen Tall on LibDem Voice, where he highlights a Council of Europe report on the UK voting system, which is open to widespread fraud. Funnily enough, Stephen makes no mention of this report from yesterday's Birmingham Post, which tells the story of a Lib Dem Councillor charged with 11 counts of forgery due to postal vote fraud...
A local election candidate arrested in a major electoral fraud inquiry is to be
charged with forgery. Mohammed Khan, aged 54, of Hob Moor Road, Small Heath,
Birmingham, will be summoned to court this week to face 11 counts of forgery. He
is one of several people at the centre of an investigation into alleged postal vote fraud during the 2006 Birmingham local elections. In April 2006, Mr Khan was arrested and bailed by West Midlands Police detectives working for the economic crime team on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud the election process. A day earlier, his wife Naseem Akhtar had been arrested following the discovery of a number of postal voting forms at an address in Ronald Road, Bordesley Green. Last year, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) advised the police that fraud charges against a number of individuals including Mr Khan could be brought. A spokeswoman said: "Our lawyers have been considering this case for some months and this week we advised West Midlands Police of our decision.
Strangely there was also no mention in the LibDem Constitutional Affairs Spokesman, David Heath MP's press release on the subject.
“We should be deeply ashamed that the United Kingdom, which throughout history
has been seen as the cradle of parliamentary democracy, has been found so wanting by our international counterparts. The defects highlighted in the report, such as the fact it is ‘childishly simple’ to register bogus voters, were pointed out in recent legislation. However, the remedies suggested by the Liberal Democrats have been summarily rejected by this Government. For the sake of our democracy and our international reputation, ministers must now deal with the opportunities for abuse.”

He may like to look closer to home, too. This may seem as though I am making of party political point, and I suppose I am, but I do recognise that all parties suffer from individuals who abuse the system. Stephen is right to say that it is a problem of Labour's making, but he falls into the usual LibDem trap of trying to appear as white as white, when in fact their bed linen is a peculiar shade of grey.


Chris Paul said...

"A problem of Labour's making"? Are you having a laugh Iain? This sort of thing was of course going on long before there even was a Labour Party. All parties have been caught at it.

But a good spot on those who are as pure as the driven snow at LDV.

Chris Davies MEP's story to his Tory oppos of course is that Sajjad Karim, the latest Tory MEP and proud listee for 2009, was trying to manipulate the LD selection.

Which was pretty rich given the communalist approach of Davies in 2004 as he exploited Karim.

Anonymous said...

We had, prior to 97, a system based on trust that was occasionally abused, but not in my experience in sufficient numbers to significantly alter outcomes. No doubt others will correct me.

This Govt introduced measures re postal voting that were an incentive to fraud, and went ahead with them despite protests.

We are now, forgive the cliche, reaping the whirlwind.

The sting in the tail of the EU report is that I believe they recommend ID cards as the way to prevent fraud.

Anonymous said...

I have NO time for the Libbies- pious, sanctimonious, hypocrites -who would (and have) sell out the country to the EU. Have they repaid the donation from that 'shady' character ( Michael Brown)? Did top Libbie fundraiser not so long ago try to lie his way out of trouble not so long ago? The Libbies speak with forked tongue regarding matters concerning probity, honesty, and integrity.

Newmania said...

Oh yes the things they say , these whiter than white folk...

“It is of the greatest importance that the conduct of members of the House meets and is see nto meet the highest standards expected by the Wickes committee(on standards in Public life), and also by our Constituents .
Lapses , however are rare damaging to public confidence in the House and in our Parliamentary democracy. If lapses occur and are not see to be tackled with sufficient rigour the effect is many times worse”

Guess which distinctly grey (and a bit orange ) fellow was responsible for that typical piece of sanctimony ....hmmmm

Anonymous said...

Not everyone reads the Birmingham Post.

Anonymous said...

Didnt that report also suggest that all voters be registered by National Insurance number?

600,000 NI numbers were given to illegal immigrants by Hains DWP!!

only a cynic would think the two are linked

Anonymous said...

I am sure it wasn't thought politically correct for him to draw attention to that case.

On the subject of the Liberal Democrats was I the only person to find Nick Clegg on yesterday's Today Programme particularly uninspiring?

No w does not appear to be a good time to be a LibDem.

Stephen Tall said...

I think the problems all parties have had with individuals is pretty well known, Iain. Which is why it's important the law is tightened to try and stop electoral fraud, no matter who's doing it.

When the Lib Dems pushed to tighten the law in 2006, it wasn't just Labour who stood in their way - a number of Tory peers joined with them, too.

Glass houses and stones.

Anonymous said...

They had some ex German justice minister on Today discussing the European report. She was basically saying in a totally unsubtle way was 'the only way to solve this is to introduce ID cards'...a cynic would say it was a bbc attempt to speculate on one of the positive aspects of ID cards, in an attempt to bail out what seems like another of this “government’s” washed up policies...

Andy said...

What a ridiculous post, Iain! Your title promises a story which you then completely fail to provide. We are not "facing both ways", every Lib Dem you quote has exactly the same stance on the matter. As you point out, every party has problems with rogue individuals.

The sentence "This may seem as though I am making of party political point, and I suppose I am, but I do recognise that all parties suffer from individuals who abuse the system", would seem slightly less ludicrous were it not coming at the end of a wholly partisan attack, and followed one line later by more of the same: "he falls into the usual LibDem trap of trying to appear as white as white" - um.. I'm pretty sure that's also a problem common to all parties.

Tristan said...

Well, the LibDems have been arguing for changes to prevent this sort of abuse.

That's a statement of fact, not trying to make us look whiter than white.

Most LibDems are aware that members of all parties are susceptible to taking advantage of such situations as we have, and its why we wish to change the system to make such things far more difficult and easier to detect.

I havn't heard a thing from the Tories on this issue, and Labour of course block any discussion of it.

Members of the LibDems may not be perfect, but at least the party recognises that there are failures.

Tapestry said...

How come it's taken so long for the EU to become exercised about voting fraud in the UK?

The 1995 General Election was so bad, no one can be sure whether Labour really won or not.

Marginal seats had very high totals of 'postal' votes.

But of course the EU just wanted Blair to win at all costs, and to keep Michael Howard and any Conservative eurosceptics out of power long enough to sign us into The Constitution.

Why the EU suddenly cares about electoral fraud now makes little sense.

Unless they know how bad the next election's going to be. Nothing has been done to tighten up the system since 1995.

Maybe they are getting worried that Brown will be embarrassingly and pathetically reliant on fraud when he eventually overcomes his fear of electors and finally calls an election....and they want to create a little distance.

Newmania said...

Well, the LibDems have been arguing for changes to prevent this sort of abuse.

The Liberal Democrat Party are on negotiatisn with Brown for a PR deal it was slipped out this weekend . As they are now the Labour Party in effect I`m not sure they have any right to criticise anything at all.

YOu`ve had ten years to get it right and that goes for Labour and mini me Labour ( The Libs )

Anonymous said...

I see ST from LDV has put in a muddled retort:'All parties have had trouble with individuals.' Hmmm. I haven't heard of a case of Conservatives committing LARGESCALE electoral fraud. Plenty of Libbies and Labour types though. What hasn't been highlighted is that the majority of this fraud is coming from the 'ethnic minority' community. Has the 'top Libbie' who tried to lie his way out of trouble ,not so long ago, been sacked from his position at Libbie Towers? I suspect not. Btw: ST is an 'enigma'. For an intelligent (but misguided ) Libbie all he seems capable of in Oxford City Council is 'Chief Canape Holder (ie)'deputy' Mayor)'.

Anonymous said...

Iain this is the big story today up north-perhaps you may care to distribute it more widely amongst your southern brethren?
lick on thumbnail to

Former minister denies 'outrageous' bypass route claims

TAVISH Scott, the former Scottish transport minister, yesterday denied claims he chose a new route for the Aberdeen bypass to appease a millionaire supporter of the Liberal Democrats.
Members of Road Sense, a campaign group formed to oppose the Aberdeen western peripheral route, claim Mr Scott opted for an 11th-hour choice for the preferred route after meeting oil tycoon Ian Suttie.

Mr Suttie's family is alleged to have donated £23,600 to the Scottish Lib Dems and the party's Aberdeen South branch over the past three years.

Both Mr Scott and Nicol Stephen, leader of the Scottish Lib Dems and MSP for Aberdeen South, who was also alleged to have attended, denied the meeting took place.

Mr Scott condemned the claims as "outrageous" and accused protesters of "scrabbling in the gutter" in a desperate bid to scupper the project.

Members of Road Sense also claimed a ministerial diary showed both Mr Scott and Mr Stephen, the former deputy first minister, attended a meeting with the Cults and Pitfodels Preservation Society – two months before the the preferred choice of route was announced.

Mr Suttie, they claimed, was present at the meeting. He lives in an area that lies along the now-scrapped Pitfodels route.

Anonymous said...

Well at least you didn't comment on those suspicious patches of yellow...

Anonymous said...

I think the Conservatives need to be concerned about the negotiations between the Libs and Labour on electoral reform. Senior advisers to the Libs are convinced the next Labour manifesto will make a vague commitment to reform, paving the way for the introduction of an alternative vote system (rather than PR) in the event of a hung Parliament. Not sure how the public would react, but the Libs are very excited, which suggests a deal of some sort is in the making. Probably worth investigating.

Chris Paul said...

Interesting stuff. I have followed up my initial link to this post with one to Bob Piper who points out that later paragraphs of the Birmingham Post piece explain how the cousin of a Tory Cllr who won by just SIX VOTES has been convicted of two charges of personation i.e. voting using someone else's identity.

Curious selectivity given the drift of your own post!

Anonymous said...

The problem is not directly a party issue. It is cultural. The postal voting fraud is from Asians of all parties.

It just happens that most of them vote labour and that is why the government is unlikely to do anything to stop fraud.

Anonymous said...

@judith and at Tapestry: "the EU report"

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is the parliamentary arm of the Council of Europe, the intergovernmental Europe-wide standard-setting body for human rights and democratic issues. It has been going since 1949, its seat is in Strasbourg, and it has no formal connection whatsoever to the EU.

Those who pontificate at length about the EU and its evils ought really to take the trouble to get their facts right.

Roger Thornhill said...

What is happening is a typical trick of Socialists.

Break something that works fine on purpose, point out the broken system then, instead of undoing and repairing, they replace with their own agenda. Swine.

Anonymous said...

This type of electoral fraud is not particular to any one political party. It is however almost exclusively practised by just one section of the community; Pakistani Muslims. No doubt this fact is unpalatable to the politically correct but it remains a cold hard fact.