Category Archives: Elections

Private Mail firm bungles polling card deliveries across London


A private postal company has delivered polling cards to the wrong addresses across London, risking chaos in this month’s local and European elections.

Scrapbook has learned that TNT post have bungled deliveries of polling cards in a second borough – Lambeth in South London.

It was revealed last week that polling cards had been delivered to the wrong addresses – or even dumped entirely – in the beleagured Tory borough of Barnet.

We’ve been told a similar story by voters in Lambeth. One person told Scrapbook they’d received three polling cards intended for the same house number on a completely different street.

They also received multiple cards addressed to minor variations of their own name.

When the Barnet foul up was revealed last week, Chukua Umuna said:

“If mistakes are being made by TNT, endangering the elections, this is hugely concerning and needs to be looked at immediately.”

It’s now become clear that the problem extends much further than Barnet alone – potentially to all 11 London councils using TNT for their deliveries.

The Electoral Commission rules for returning officers say:

“You should also have in place a mechanism for monitoring the delivery of poll cards, with a view to ensuring that they have been delivered across the whole of the counting area and to agreed timeframes….

…A poll card must be sent to the elector’s qualifying address or, in the case of a proxy, to the proxy’s address as shown in the list of proxies.”

The Commission’s performance standards for returning officers demands that they:

“Ensure poll cards are received by voters as soon as possible so that voters have the maximum amount of time to act on the information”

With foul ups still coming to light just 20 days before polls open, it looks like a few London returning officers are likely to be forfeiting their fees

UKIP candidate axed for ‘Down’s abortion manifesto’ will still run

UKIP's Geoffrey Clark

A UKIP candidate, who was suspended from the party for his 4,500 word ‘personal manifesto’ suggesting that all abortions should be compulsory for foetus’ with Down’s syndrome, will still be running in Kent’s by-election tomorrow.

Clarke’s foam-at-the-mouth rant called disabled babies a “burden on the state”:

“Consider compulsory abortion when the foetus is detected as having Downs, spina bifida or similar syndrome which, if it is born, will render the child a burden on the state as well as on the family.”

Although forced to run as an independent, the ballot papers will still mark disgraced Geoffrey Clark as UKIP as the sheets have already been printed. The manifesto, which was published on his website, has since been removed.

UKIP almost fell over themselves in a rush to distance the party from what they described as “abhorrent views”.

Suspensions of off-message candidates are a rare thing in libertarian UKIP — showing the extent to which Clark had crossed the line of decency.

Rotherham winter: why Galloway will hit the buffers tomorrow

Despite odd’s on Respect being slashed yesterday, there’s one major reason why George Galloway’s party doesn’t stand a chance in tomorrow’s Rotherham by-election — and it isn’t because their campaign office was still locked at 9:30 this morning (above).

Some have correctly observed that George Galloway’s coup in Bradford marked “the beginning of the end of Labour’s ethnic minority bloc vote politics”. But there is one major barrier to the extension of the franchise forty miles down the M1: there is no such minority bloc in Rotherham.

Though it includes those not of voting age, census data for Bradford West clearly shows that the Muslim Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi population which formed the Respect/Galloway base dwarfed the 5,763 majority that Labour by-election campaigners inherited from Marsha Singh. In contrast, just 4,467 people of South Asian origin live in Rotherham according to the last available stats — much smaller than Denis MacShane’s 10,462 lead over the Conservatives.

Don’t believe the hype.

Mensch fibs to Newsnight with claim she “never wanted to be a minister”

After jetting off to New York and leaving Cameron with an embarrassing by-election disaster, former Corby MP Louise Mensch has been trying to rewrite history on her quixotic Westminster ambitions, telling Newsnight on Friday:

“Contrary to massive public rumour, I have never wanted to be a minister”

In an interview to accompany a glossy photo shoot for the February edition of GQ, however, Mensch half joked about her failure to be promoted — before then naming the department in which she would like to be a minister in what the magazine describes as “a job application”:

“I’m not even a PPS! It’s kind of annoying. What do I have to do to get promoted over here? Am I being disloyal? I don’t know.”

I need to sit down with my whip and say, ‘What do I have to do?’ No, every time there is a raft of PPS promotions and my name is not on them, I have to sit down and think, ‘What am I doing wrong?’”

The then Corby MP was clearly not content with the not insignificant airmiles she was already clocking up on the way to New York, fancying some additional travel at the taxpayers’ expense:

“I would very much like to have a crack at International Development”

The penny finally seemed to drop by Friday, however, with Mensch admitting that she “could never have [been a cabinet minister] in the first place”, before reiterating “… and I never wanted to”.

Update: Mensch is not impressed:


Touched a nerve, have we?

Now ANOTHER Tory council accused of promoting candidate with taxpayer cash

It seems that Spelthorne Borough Council are not the only Conservative local authority who see no problem with giving public platforms to their own candidates — the London Borough of Croydon apparently has given Iain Duncan Smith a platform to promote the Tory by-election candidate.

A local news and politics blog reports that IDS was attending the publicly-funded “Croydon congress” meeting, when he said he was “obviously” there to back the Tory candidate Andy Stranack.

Blame this time, however, is being laid at the door of council chief executive John Rouse. Rouse seems to have a history of questionable decisions, banning Labour and Co-operative candidates from using the Labour rose emblem on ballot papers — and was on the panel with the Work and Pensions Secretary at the event.

This is starting to look slightly endemic.

Quote of the day: Police Commissioner edition

Having secured a meagre 35,319 votes out of a total electorate of 520,000, the UK’s first elected police and Crime commissioner, Wiltshire Tory Angus Macpherson, told the Today Programme:

“It’s not so much a mandate as a large job interview.

You have to give him marks for creativity.

The Police Commissioner polling station ‘with only 1.08% turnout’

The Electoral Reform Society’s estimation of an 18.5% turnout at today’s Police Commissioner elections is starting to seem rather optimistic, as one polling station has a current turnout of only 1.08%.

The Oasis Academy Mayfair polling station, in the Sholing ward of Southampton, was reported as having had only 18 votes cast as of 4:24pm — out of a total 1,674 voters registered to that polling district:

It’s safe to say that these elections are a disaster.

Police tsar poll branded “a comedy of errors” over poor turnout

The Electoral Reform Society has lambasted the government’s handling of the Police & Crime Commissioner elections as a “comedy of errors“, predicting a record low turnout of 18.5%.

The ERS said:

“This election has been a comedy of errors from start to finish. Polling stations are standing empty because voters knew next to nothing about the role, let alone the candidates they were expected to pick from.”

Meanwhile, anecdotes on Twitter suggest an appallingly low turnout, which will damage the PCC role before it has even been won.

Twitter’s verdict on PCC turnout »

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