Socialist Worker

Police ‘aided’ Birmingham ballot fraud

Issue No. 1942

Police seized fraudulent ballot papers for council elections in Birmingham last year — and then delivered them to the official count, a court heard last week.

The shocking revelations emerged at the special election court examining allegations of vote rigging and fraud by members of the Labour Party in Birmingham’s Bordesley Green and Aston wards.

Police seized the ballot papers during a late night raid on a warehouse, described by election court judge Richard Mawrey as a “vote rigging factory”.

The officers caught three Labour councillors handling the unsealed ballot papers. But incredibly they allowed them to be taken to the city’s returning officer to be included in the count, the court was told.

John Rees, who stood for Respect in Birmingham’s Hodge Hill parliamentary by-election last year, said, “I thought the police were supposed to be combating electoral fraud, not aiding and abetting it.”

Raghib Ahsan of the People’s Justice Party, which brought the case over Bordesley Green, said, “I think it’s shocking what has been said in court over the last two weeks. What we need is to get rid of the postal vote.

“I’m amazed that the Labour Party has not suspended any of those councillors. They’ve withdrawn legal representation from them. But there is no action against them.”

Election officers from across the country warned ministers that a postal voting scandal was waiting to happen shortly before the local elections that sparked the Birmingham case.

Papers obtained by the Times newspaper under the freedom of information act show they wrote to John Prescott’s office warning that fraud concerns were putting the integrity of the elections at risk.

The Birmingham electoral fraud case continues.

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Sat 12 Mar 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1942
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