This could be a rather interesting little event here. A known vote rigger – someone who actually spent time in jail for having done it – seems to have been central to Labour’s campaign in the Peterborough byelection. You know, the one they won by just over 600 votes?
No, we can’t go around just insisting that British elections don’t feature that sort of thing. We’ve the example here of just that in this place in previous elections. And we’ve also got that example of Rahman in Tower Hamlets, don’t we?
Nigel Farage lashed out today after independent observers warned Labour’s Peterborough by-election win was worthy of corrupt ex-Soviet state Kazakhstan. The Brexit Party leader told MailOnline the constituency looked like ‘another rotten borough’ after his candidate was narrowly defeated earlier this month. Election experts Democracy Volunteers have said the sight of people photographing their completed ballot papers was something they had only ever seen in Kazakhstan ‘many years ago’.
Much as I like Nigel – declaration, I used to work for him – and back the Brexit Party, that could just be the normal sort of complaint. But this from the Sunday Times is a bit more:
A notorious vote-rigger jailed for forging postal votes played a far greater role in Labour’s narrow by-election victory in Peterborough this month than the party has admitted. Tariq Mahmood, 51, a numberplate salesman and former taxi company owner who received a 15-month sentence for his part in a “systematic campaign of electoral fraud” in 2008, had denied involvement in the campaign to elect Lisa Forbes 10 days ago.
Labour won the by-election by just 683 votes out of an overall turnout of 33,920. About 28% of votes (9,498) were postal votes, higher than the 2017 general election figure of 24% and the national average of 21.6%. The number of rejected postal ballots rose from 379 to 400. The Central Ward in which Mahmood campaigned had the greatest proportion of postal votes issued in the constituency. There are no figures on how many were returned or for which party.
We have seen electoral fraud in this country. We need to guard against it too. The question is, how much examination of this is there going to be? Given that it was the Brexit Party pipped there my assumption is not enough investigation.