Tag Archives: electoral law

Changes to electoral law passed this week will help disabled candidates

An order passed by the House of Lords this week will mean that expenses reasonably attributable to a candidates’ disability will no longer count towards their election expenses.

The Minister, Lord Young of Cookham, told the Lords:

Examples of such expenses include, but are not limited to, British Sign Language interpretation for hearing-impaired candidates, the transcription of campaign material into braille for visually impaired candidates and specialist equipment. This order will also exclude expenses funded from grants provided through the Government’s interim EnAble Fund for Elected Office from electoral spending limits. This £250,000 interim fund will support disabled candidates and help cover disability-related expenses that people might face when seeking elected office, such as those I have listed

Our John Shipley welcomed the proposal:

I thank the Minister for explaining this order and I want to record that I agree with it. It is entirely appropriate that any disability-related expenses in elections should be exempt from spending limits, on principle. That is because it helps disabled candidates to stand for election on equal terms with others. I noted the Minister’s comments about some objections that may have been raised on some of the details—but none is more important than the overall principle of equality of opportunity.

This order is in force now for the May elections.

But it isn’t any use to disabled candidates unless we actually help them with the costs of getting elected. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 1 Comment

1 November 2018 – today’s press releases

We’ve got a veritable torrent of press releases today, starting with an example of the Party being rather more radical than Labour…

Cable: £1.3 billion for higher-rate payers should be used to reverse welfare cuts

The Liberal Democrats have announced they will be voting against the Government’s plans to raise the higher-rate tax threshold to £50,000.

The policy – announced in Monday’s budget – will cost an estimated £1.3 billion pounds next year, money which could instead be used to reverse cuts to Universal Credit or end the benefits freeze a year early.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince …

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Paul Tyler writes…Was the Brexit poll compromised?

That is the question the Conservative Chair of the investigating Commons Select Committee asked last weekend.  Hitherto, his Ministerial colleagues have seemed determined to turn a blind eye to all the recent revelations of possible illegality by Leave campaigners.

Will they be more forthcoming this afternoon ?     My Question to be discussed in the Lords reads as follows:

“Lord Tyler to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are satisfied that current electoral law adequately prevents the misuse of personal data in United Kingdom elections and referendum campaigns”

The HOUSE magazine has published some background for this mini debate:

The revelations come thick and fast.   Daily – sometimes it seems like hourly – we learn that our personal data may have been misused in ever more controversial ways.  In particular, ingenious development of Facebook material appears to have played a key role in targeting both positive messages and contrived attacks in the Trump election campaign AND to secure the Brexit result of our own 2016 EU Referendum.

So far Ministers have hidden behind a reassuring report from the Electoral Commission about the conduct of that referendum.  However, that was issued months ago, long before the detailed analysis from Carole Cadwalladr of The Observer began to gain traction, and the whistleblowers from Cambridge Analytica, AIQ and the Leave campaigns emerged to give their evidence.   Since the turn of the year the alleged network of illicit collaboration has caused the Electoral Commission, the Information Commissioner and the House of Commons Culture Media & Sport Select Committee to open new investigations.  The latter, led by Conservative MP Damian Collins, is being especially pro-active, and their witness list in the next few days is itself an indication of the vital role Parliamentary Select Committees can now play.

Despite apparent BBC attempts to minimise the significance of all this increasing weight of evidence (presumably because other media have provided the investigative journalism) there are signs of growing public unease.   Have we as nation been conned, just like so many in the US ?    Has our personal data been “scraped” for this purpose ?   Are our very strict laws, which seek to protect our elections and referendum campaigns from being bought by billionaires and foreign governments, up to the job?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 11 Comments

Who benefits most from voters having to show ID?

I had thought that the Vanquis advert would be the thing that would irritate me the most during this chilled out festive week. Even if you lay aside the fact that it’s advertising outrageously overpriced credit, the utter misogyny of the plot line should see its creators banished back to the 11th century where they belong.

But no, the Tories had something to seriously annoy me. Their plan to make voters show ID at polling stations in the name of “securing the ballot” is a thinly disguised attempt to skew the voting in their favour. Let me explain. If you are young or poor, you are less likely to be able to afford a passport or even a driving licence. Some don’t have a bank account. You may also not have your name on a utility bill. If you live at home with your parents, as many young people do, or if you are sharing a house with several others, you may simply not have the prescribed ID and will not be able to vote.

It’s as if there weren’t enough barriers already to young or poor people voting already. And these groups, shall we say, tend not to vote Conservative. Putting more obstacles in the way of these people casting a vote seems at best irresponsible.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 35 Comments

Lib Dem Elaine Bagshaw comments on removal of Tower Hamlets mayor Rahman

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets has been found guilty of corrupt electoral practices and removed from office. There is a 200 page judgement which outlines in detail the allegations against him which range from personation to the old offence of “undue spiritual influence.” There is a section on that latter offence which goes through the history of it being used in Ireland against the undue spiritual influence of the Catholic church in the 19th century. The judgement also goes through the history of toxic Labour factionalism in the borough which is an eye-opening read to say the least. The judgement also relies on the judgement in a case which may well be familiar to readers – that of Phil Woolas, when the Oldham East election result was overturned back in 2010.

It is pretty shocking to have the result of an election turned aside because of compelling evidence of various types of fraud.

There will now be a by-election in which Rahman will not be allowed to stand. He will also have to pay £250,000 in costs.

Local Liberal Democrat candidate for Poplar and Limehouse Elaine Bagshaw commented:

Community politics and cohesion is central to a liberal society, so as Liberal Democrats we will be working in the by-election that will now happen to unite our community so that we can move forward and build a stronger economy and a fairer society in Tower Hamlets.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

LibLink: Mark Pack: There’s rather more to the story of “Police call on someone who tweeted criticism of UKIP”

There’s been a fair bit of discussion online about the incident last weekend when two Cambridgeshire Police Officers visited Green Party member Michael Abberton over a tweet which contained his edited, fact checked version of an anti-UKIP poster designed by someone else.

He told the whole story on his Axe of Reason blog.

Julian Huppert, as you can imagine, expressed concern about the and …

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , , , and | 8 Comments
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