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Electoral Fraud

Volume 686: debated on Thursday 17 December 2020

Ministers and officials engage with the Electoral Commission on a regular basis about work to support the effective and secure running of elections at a local and parliamentary level. We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission to ensure that all elections that take place in the UK are both fair and free of any electoral fraud or attempted electoral fraud.

I thank my right hon. Friend for her answer. In his judgment against the former Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman for electoral fraud, Richard Mawrey QC found that one council candidate had, in the space of six weeks, fought two wards in the same borough using two different names and two different false addresses. That fact came to light not through investigation by the authorities but because local residents were able to inspect copies of the electoral register under supervision. That right seems to have been thrown into doubt because of confusing guidance issued by the Electoral Commission. Could my right hon. Friend get in touch with the chief executive of the Electoral Commission to ensure that clear guidance is issued, so that members of the public looking into these measures do not find themselves prevented from accessing copies under supervision and that further cases they are looking into can come to light?

My hon. Friend raises a very important issue. Let me be crystal clear: the law is absolutely clear on this. Anyone can inspect copies of the current register under supervision. The register is a public document to enable concerned citizens, such as those he refers to, to check that registers only include those who are properly eligible. I will, of course, look into the matter that he raised, because we want clarity on this very important point.