Monthly Archives: June 2019

Council responds to claims of vote rigging

ballot-box-voting-election-photo-generic

Peterborough City Council has responded to allegations that postal votes in the Westminster by-election were rigged.

The Brexit Party, which finished second in the poll behind Labour, made a number of claims after the poll that postal votes had swung the result and that a large number had come from Asian households within the city.

The Daily Mail followed up with a story headlined “Jailed vote-rigger’s role in Labour’s by-election victory” naming Tariq Mahmood as a man front and centre in mobilising Labour’s Muslim vote. The article also quoted Conservative Party concerns about his role.

This week, the city council – the body responsible for running all elections – hit back in a statement emphasising how strict the rules and checks are relating to postal votes. The statement said:

“Each postal-vote application must contain the elector’s date of birth and their signature. This information is then stored on the council’s electoral database and used to verify the validity of each postal vote returned.

“In order for a postal vote to be accepted, the elector must complete the postal voting statement by adding their date of birth and signature and return the completed pack to the Acting Returning Officer. The information given on this statement is then cross-checked against the elector’s original application. If the date of birth or signature do not match the original application then the postal vote is rejected and will not be included in the final counting of votes.

“This entire matching process was viewed at the Town Hall on a large screen TV that was linked to our electoral software in real time. Appointed postal vote agents from political parties and accredited observers from the Electoral Commission observed this process in full (all parties were invited to attend – the Conservative Party, Labour Party and Brexit Party attended) and were entitled to obtain the return and rejected figures on a daily basis. All those present were entitled to challenge the validity of each returned postal vote statement, and if any were challenged, the Acting Returning Officer would record this and pass this information on to the police for investigation.”

There were 13,682 postal votes issued for the by-election and 9,898 returned, of which 400 were rejected due to either the signature or date of birth (or both) not matching records. In the 2017 Parliamentary election, there were 14,293 postal votes issued, with 11,930 returned and 379 were rejected.

Two new quarries proposed in Thorney

Quarry 1

Two new quarries in Thorney are in the early stages of planning.

This is in addition to the three working quarries within the parish right now.

At this stage, the two new quarries are listed on Peterborough City Council’s Mineral and Waste planning documents and the council is now in the process of assessing the plans.

One of the new sites is at Little Towers Fen which is north of Bukehorn Road. This is a massive quarry with a site area of 230ha reaching almost to Crowland and running alongside the Crowland Road. The proposed opening date is 2030, by which time the reserves in other quarries in the area will have been exhausted.

The second site is at Haynes Farm to the south of the A47 and just beyond Pasture House farm Quarry, which opened for extraction this week and which has caused major disruption on the A47 as the junction with Willow Hall Lane has been altered. Only the part of this quarry east of the Cat’s Water is in Thorney Parish, the remainder is in Eye. The proposed opening date for this quarry is 2028.

It’s not currently clear where access would be, although Little Towers Fen would have to be reached either via Bukehorn Road or Crowland Road; while Haynes Farm quarry access would logically be from the A47.

The city council has asked for comments on these two additional quarries by July 10. Thorney Parish Council will discuss them at their next meeting on July 8 and members of the public are welcome to attend this meeting. They can otherwise make any comments they may have direct to the city council. These should be addressed to Chris Stanek at chris.stanek@peterborough.gov.uk.

Quarrying at Gores Farm, to the west of the Whittlesey Road and once the site of a proposed wind-farm, has been given the green light by the city council, but another proposed quarry at Middle West Farm, to the north of the A47 opposite the existing Pode Hole Farm Quarry was turned down. Thorney Parish Council had expressed concern about lorry traffic on the A47 in relation to this proposal.

The city council has sufficient quarries to meet demand up to 2036 and had not asked for additional sites to be put forward. It has a statutory duty to consider the merits of both Haynes Farm and Little Towers Fen, however.

Firefighters called to bonfire

Fire service

Thorney’s firefighters were called out just before midnight on Thursday to attend a bonfire behind houses on Wisbech Road.

On arrival, firefighters found a large bonfire unattended and extinguished it using a hose reel. They returned to their station by 12.40am.

A Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue spokesman said:

If having a bonfire:

  1. Build your bonfire well clear of buildings, garden sheds, fences and hedges
  2. Never use flammable liquids to start a bonfire, and never burn dangerous items such as aerosol cans, paint tins, foam furniture, or batteries
  3. Don’t leave bonfires unattended. An adult should supervise it until it has burnt out. If it has to be left, damp it down with plenty of water
  4. Always keep a bucket of water or a hosepipe nearby in case of fire
  5. Check the weather – avoid lighting bonfires in high winds.

Labour holds Peterborough with increased majority

Lisa Forbes

Labour held Peterborough by an increased majority of 683 in yesterday’s Parliamentary by election.

However, rather than beating the Conservative party into second place, this time it was the new Brexit party that made the greatest challenge.

Lisa Forbes (pictured with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn) was victorious, beating Brexit’s Mike Greene, with the Conservative candidate, Paul Bristow a poor third.

Labour secured 10,484 votes, well down on the 22,950 at the last general election, although turnout was down from 67 per cent to 48 per cent.

Becky Sellick of the Lib-Dems increased her vote from 1,597 to over 4,000 and the Green party also saw an increase.

Full results were:

BRISTOW Paul The Conservative Party Candidate 7,243
FORBES Lisa Labour Party 10,484 E
GOLDSPINK Stephen Kenneth Savill English Democrats -“Putting England First!” 153
GREENE Mike The Brexit Party 9,801
HOPE Howling Laud The Official Monster Raving Loony Party 112
KIRK Pierre Edmond UK European Union Party (UKEUP) 25
MOORE Andrew John 101
O` FLYNN Patrick James SDP Fighting for Brexit 135
RODGERS Dick Common Good: Remain In The EU 60
ROGERS Tom Christian Peoples Alliance 162
SELLICK Beki Liberal Democrats 4,159
SMITH Bobby Elmo 5
WARD Peter Mark Renew 45
WELLS Joseph Green Party 1,035
WHITBY John UK Independence Party 400