Socialist Worker

Gains for the left PJP follow Birmingham vote-rigging case

Issue No. 1962

Raghib Ahsan

Raghib Ahsan

Left wing candidates took two council seats in Birmingham last week. The People’s Justice Party (PJP) gained two councillors in the Bordesley Green ward with Labour taking the third seat. The Liberal Democrats gained all three seats in Aston ward.

The elections were rerun following a court case in March, which found evidence of serious vote-rigging by Labour Party councillors.

Raghib Ahsan of the PJP says, “I am really happy with the result here last week. We lost our two councillors in Bordesley at the last election.

“The postal vote in the ward rocketed from about 600 to over 8,000 — the highest in the country. Labour were worried about losing votes because of the war.

“Our agents sat at polling stations on the election day last year. They met people who turned up to vote, only to be told they had already cast a postal vote.

“We knew some of these people and, as soon as the election was over, we pinpointed places where the vote was diverted.

“A number of people told us they had voted PJP, but that someone had collected their vote. When it got to the ballot box it had become a vote for Labour.

“We collected around 260 such witness statements from people. Some did not apply for a postal vote, but received one — and people came to collect it. Some applied for postal votes, but they never arrived.

“Postal voting is designed so that it cannot be policed.

“In Birmingham there were 70,000 postal voting registrations for the general election. How do we know these were real votes? But still the government will not stop postal voting on demand.

“If we want fair and democratic elections then postal voting needs to be scrapped.”

Respect national secretary John Rees congratulated the PJP on its results.

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Sat 6 Aug 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1962
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