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Electoral Fraud

Volume 524: debated on Tuesday 1 March 2011

7. What recent representations the Electoral Commission has received on its report on fraud in the 2010 elections. (42467)

The Electoral Commission published its report on cases of alleged electoral malpractice in 2010 on 16 February 2011 and has received no representations on it.

I will make one representation. The commission’s report stated that it was not aware at the time of any case reported to the police that affected the outcome of the election to which it related. In fact, there has been one case of alleged electoral malpractice resulting in prosecution and conviction, and court proceedings have been initiated in another case. Does that not make absolutely absurd the claim made in September by the Conservative party chair, Baroness Warsi, that the Conservatives failed to win an overall majority in the general election because of electoral fraud, predominantly within the Asian community, that benefited Labour? Does the Baroness not owe the Electoral Commission an apology for the slur on its oversight of electoral proceedings? Frankly, does she not owe an apology to the Labour party and the Asian community as well?

The Electoral Commission is not responsible for the comments of any politician in this country, I am delighted to say. The report on electoral fraud showed that there were 232 cases of alleged electoral malpractice in 2010, 137 of which required no further action. Sixty-eight cases remain under investigation; in 23 cases police advice was given; two cases resulted in a caution; and court proceedings were brought in two cases, resulting in one conviction.

The House will know that, regrettably, six individuals have been found guilty of election malpractice arising from personation and postal vote fraud in Peterborough in the past four years. What specific strategies are the Electoral Commission pursuing to concentrate on postal vote fraud?

The Electoral Commission has made recommendations to the Government about tightening up voter identification, and the Government are considering that report. Naturally, the Electoral Commission takes all allegations of fraud seriously, but it is a matter for the police to investigate each and every incident.