Category Archives: Elections

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.

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

 

Fifteen to contest Peterborough by-election

Peterborough_Cathedral

Fifteen candidates will contest the Peterborough by-election on June 6.

That compares to just four people who stood for the seat in the 2017 general election.

Betting sites make the Brexit Party candidate Mike Greene narrow early favourite to win from Lisa Forbes (Labour). The Conservatives, who held the seat until 2017, are a long way behind in third at 20-1.

The candidates are (in alphabetical order):

Paul Bristow (Conservative)

Lisa Forbes (Labour)

Stephen Goldspink (English Democrats)

Mike Greene (Brexit Party)

Howling Lord Hope (The Official Monster Raving Loony Party)

Pierre Kirk (UKEUP)

Andrew Moore (Independent)

Patrick O’Flynn (SDP – Fighting for Brexit)

Dick Rodgers (Common Good)

Tom Rogers (Christian People’s Alliance)

Beki Sellick (Liberal Democrats)

Bobby Smith (Independent)

Peter Ward (Renew)

Joseph Wells (Green Party)

John Whitby (UKIP)

Conservatives hold Thorney, lose city

Steve Allen

Steve Allen, Conservative councillor for Eye, Thorney and Newborough, comfortably held his seat in yesterday’s City Council poll.

The results were (in alphabetical order):

Michael Alexander (Green Party) 172

Steve Allen (Conservative Party) 1254

Mary Herdman (Social Democratic Party) 187

Wendy Smith (Labour) 325

Christopher Stowe (Liberal Democrats) 84

Nigel Walls (UKIP) 351

However, across the city, the Conservatives now hold 28 seats compared to 32 seats for other parties and so have lost overall control of Peterborough City Council.

They may yet retain power if they can do a deal with the Werrington First group, which has three seats.

 

Two weeks left to sign recall petition

Onasanya

There’s just two weeks left to sign the recall petition for MP Fiona Onasanya.

The petition was launched by Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, following Onasanya’s conviction for perverting the course of justice in connection with a speeding offence.

Thorney residents can sign the petition at the Bedford Hall on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am to 5pm, on Tuesdays from 7am to 5pm and on Thursdays from 9am to 10pm.

Residents have until 5pm on Wednesday, May 1 to sign.

If 10 per cent of the electorate (6,967 people) sign the petition, the MP would lose her seat and a by-election will be triggered. No updates on how many people have signed the petition can be given whilst the process in ongoing.

The result will be sent to the Speaker of the House of Commons and he authorises the result to be published. The process of running the recall petition is estimated to cost in the region of £500,000 and is fully funded by central government.

Two Thorney residents stand for City Council

City Council

Two Thorney people are among six candidates hoping to represent the village on Peterborough City Council.

Michael Alexander, who lives in Wisbech Road, is standing for the Green Party and Mary Herdman, also of Wisbech Road, is standing for the Social Democratic Party.

The election is for one of three seats for the Eye, Thorney and Newborough ward on the City Council and the poll will be held on May 2 at the Bedford Hall.

Steve Allen (Conservative) is our current representative and he will be standing again. Our other two sitting councillors are Nigel Simons and Richard Brown (both Conservative). They are not up for re-election this year.

The full list of candidates is:

Michael Alexander (Green Party)

Steve Allen (Conservative Party)

Mary Herdman (Social Democratic Party)

Wendy Smith (Labour Party)

Christopher Stow (Liberal Democrats)

Nigel Walls (UK Independence Party)

Where will our library go?

Thorney Library

Thorney looks likely to lose its current library in January when the building is put up for auction.

Thorney Parish Council heard on Monday evening that Peterborough City Council is hoping to sell the building, along with the former community centre in Church Street, for £300,000.

Both the old community centre and the library were the village’s infants’ and girls’ schools until 1940, when the Duke of Bedford School opened.

Parish councillor Russ Bevington, responding to a question from Doris Pacey, a member of the public, said the village would not lose its library, but he couldn’t say whether there would be a break in service or what the new provision would be.

He said there had been talk of a mobile library or putting up a temporary building next to the Bedford Hall.

The future of the library seems tied up with the future of the Bedford Hall, the village community centre. There is a proposal to house the library in space at the back of the hall, but cost was estimated at £110,000.

A suggestion to accommodate it at the school was rejected by school governors.

Mr Bevington said the city council had promised the money from the sale of the Church Street premises would stay in the village and that some of it would be used to help fund a new pavilion in the park.

Anti-social behaviour problems

Residents of Park Close attended the meeting to complain about anti-social behaviour that was making their lives a misery.

It was claimed there had been fights, threats against other residents, drinking and drug taking. There had been three police raids, including one by armed police.

City councillors agreed to take up the issues with Cross Keys Housing Association to see if something could be done.

Parish Council chairman, John Bartlett, said the problems stemmed from when Peterborough City Council changed its letting policy, which resulted in families being housed in properties that were intended as old people’s bungalows.

Council vacancy

There have been two applications for the vacancy on Thorney Parish Council. Councillors will interview candidates at next month’s meeting.

Heritage street signs

The “heritage” streets signs for Church Street and Abbey Place are due to be delivered this week and should be installed soon.

LED street lights

Installation of LED street lights in the village is almost complete. A number of old lights with concrete lamp-posts remain to be converted and the heritage street lights for Church Street and Abbey Place have not been installed.

The parish council had been concerned about the cost of these rising from £10,000 to £20,000 and had still not received an explanation from Peterborough City Council.

£300 for Tommies

The Parish Council is to pay £300 towards the cost of the Tommy silhouettes that were used for the commemoration of the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Village signs are rotten

It might cost up to £15,000 to replace Thorney’s four village signs, which are now rotten.

The quote was for replica signs in aluminium, which would have a lifespan of up to 25 years. The Parish Council thought this was too much and are seeking quotes from other companies.

Nathan Potts said he’d had quotes from a local craftsman who could carve the signs in oak at a cost of £11,000.

It was suggested the current signs would need to be changed as the abbey was much too short and squat. New signs should get the scale right. Another suggestion was for a silhouette design, which might be substantially cheaper.

A decision was deferred until December to get more quotes.

Former MP will not fight to regain seat

Stuart-Jackson

Former Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson, who lost his seat to Labour in the 2017 general election, has announced he will not be standing again.

“It feels like the end of an era but I won’t be seeking the Conservative nomination in Peterborough for either by election or General Election,” he tweeted.

The Conservative party will choose its next Parliamentary candidate next month.

Conservatives take control in Peterborough

Richar-Brown-Peterborough-Councillor

Richard Brown (pictured) held Eye, Thorney and Newborough ward in yesterday’s local elections, helping the Conservatives to take control of Peterborough City Council.

The council had previously been under no overall control.

The Conservatives held four seats, gained two from Labour and one from UKIP.

Results for Eye, Thorney and Newborough were:

Richard Brown (Conservative) 1,252

Christian Defeo (Labour) 666

Layton Mills (UKIP) 214

Michael Alexander (Green Party) of Wisbech Road, Thorney 105

 

Callum Robertson (Lib-Dem) 70