Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Postal votes under the microscope again.

Council of Europe to investigate

I have often opined in this blog about the inadequacies of our postal voting and registration systems, which have led to criminal cases coming before the courts for electoral fraud. I am therefore pleased that the Council of Europe is being asked to investigate alleged human rights breaches over the issue.

Scandals arising from Tony Blair's strategy to improve turnouts by giving everybody the right to vote by post risk placing Britain in the same league as newly toppled dictatorships.

The Council of Europe was created in 1949 as a postwar bulwark against communism, with Britain among the ten founders. Today it brings together 46 nations from Iceland to Russia. Much of its work involves supporting ex-communist states to introduce democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

David Wilshire (pictured above), a Tory MP on the council's assembly, persuaded centre-right and liberal parliamentarians from across Europe to demand an inquiry.

In a motion they complained of "the growing body of evidence that widespread absent vote fraud is taking place in the UK". Such cheating would breach the European Convention on Human Rights, which requires nations to "hold free elections . . . which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature".

Chris Ruane, the Labour MP for Vale of Clwyd, urged the team to look also at the voters missing from the roll. "Postal voting fraud is totally unacceptable but it is also totally unacceptable to have up to 3 million people missing off the register," he said.

Curly hopes some good will become of this move, and that we see a great slowdown in the growth of postal voting applications, which in some constituencies have grown at an alarming rate!


The Times Online

Iain Dale Guide to Blogging

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