John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Thursday, February 17, 2005
  Aston Election Petition
I thought it would be useful to put the Aston Election petition on the web. I need to tidy up the layout, but I haven't got the time for that at the moment. The words are verbatim.

I have been involved in three election petitions. One failed in 2000 and was based around Sparkhill. It failed because I told my lawyers that it needed to be served in 5 days and they got it served in 6. I also have advised the Bordesley Petition.

This particular petition was one I drafted. I have been working on raising the profile of the massive election frauds committed mainly by the Labour Party across the Country for some time now. With a bit of luck we will prove that in court by the end of March.

I hope to get the Bordesley Petition and put that on the web as well. There are about 2-3 petitions per year. These two petitions are the first to come to court based upon fraud in about a century. There were some that came close, but people pulled back.

The strength of the Aston petition is that Ayoub Khan has been very good in managing the legal processes. This is a difficult process and he has handled it very well.

Ayoub Khan was Lib Dem Councillor for Aston from 2003 to June 11 2004 (actually I think June 14, but that takes a knowledge of really arcane Local Government Law).
 
Comments:
You repeat your slander against the Labour Party. On that basis it is obvious that you as a Liberal Democrat are responsible for one of your MEPs claiming mileage in a SINGLE year equivalent to travelling around the world three times and a half times. Why does the Liberal Democrat Party endorse this deception? You should be ashamed of yourself.
 
The real issue I am concerned with is the law. The Labour Party in Parliament are responsible for the current legal processes.

If it is made too easy to fiddle elections then more people will do it - from all parties.

My allegation is that the Labour Party in parliament changed the law (true) which had the effect of making it more easy to fiddle elections (true) being aware that such a change in the law would benefit Labour (true).

Now you could argue the case that the official Labour position is that people should not fiddle elections and I would accept that.

It is, however, incontravertible that Labour believe that Labour Supporters with postal votes are four times more likely to have their votes cast than those without.

The really difficult question is to determine the level of awareness within the Labour Party (which has many honest members) and the willingness to turn a blind eye to the malpractise that goes on.

It is true that the situation has been gradually deteriorating since the Law has changed. However, the change in the law has as a direct consequence the electoral riot, burning of pillar box and threats to postmen (as well as offers of bribes).

None of our MEPs claimed that they travelled 7 times average travelling. One Scottish Parliament member, who has resigned did. I do not defend that activity. Given that he has resigned I ask what else we should do?
 
The fact is Labour believe that supporters of ALL parties who have a postal vote are more likely to use their vote. Just look at the evidence from the all-postal vote districts where it was shown that the turnouts were massively increased. OK... guilty as charged... the Government wanted more people, including Labour voters as there just so happens to be more of them, to participate in the democratic process, and introduced a system with checks in it... which allegedly some people abused. John Hemming presumably wants to limit democratic participation in the forlorn hope that one day sufficient numbers of the people of Yardley will stay away to allow him to be elected. My argument on your Lib Dem fiddler is the same as that with postal vote fiddlers. They are rogue elements and it is wrong to attribute their actions to Party or Government... and that is your slieght of hand.
 
You said:
>and introduced a system with
>checks in it...

What checks? Which signatures are actually checked? The only check that is made is that there are signatures present not what the siguatures are.
 
As ever when a Lib Dem is pinned to the ground, they try to wriggle around by concentrating on one element rather than aswering the main points. Get the message... it is why the public don't trust you and your poll rating is still so low. Your allegation is that Labour changed the law to make it easier to fiddle. My response is that it was just as easy to fiddle before. If there are no checks with postal voting, just exactly what checks are there on polling stations. Your response was that we could stand about around polling stations. Some check that is. In any event the Government as I recall it accepted the recommendations of the Electoral Commission. Now you are an educated man and you will be able to find the answer to this for me: How did the Liberal Democrats vote on this particular piece of legislation?
 
Fiddling postal votes is a lot easier than personation.
 
Any chance you can answer the question. You see, in spite of your assertion to the contrary, Governments do not pass legislation. The Houses of Parliament pass legislation and that includes Conservative and Lib Dem MPs and Members of the House of Lords. So.. how did YOUR MPs and Lords vote, because, as I am sure you are aware, if they also voted in favour of the legislation... they are also, in your terms, guilty of encouraging corruption and I feel obliged to tell them how corrupt you think they are. I'm waiting....
 
Whatever the party did when various bits of legislation when through the Commons, it is now concerned as to the outcomes.

The key question is that of whether the current situation is acceptable or not.

If you are arguing that it is acceptable then I disagree.

They may have gone along with the government proposals at the start, but they are not comfortable now.

I don't actually know what they did, however.

Speaking personally I have expressed concern each step of the way.
 
Perhaps I should remind John of the Liberal Democrat activist arrested in Oldham this year on suspicion of stealing votes, or the Lib Dem canvasser in Leicester South who tried to persuade the owners of a care home to cast votes for the residents.

In the House on 10 June last year, Peter Hain said, "However, the idea that all elections in the past have been run perfectly and that unscrupulous individuals or politicians did not seek to exploit them is an illusion. I remember more than 30 years ago a Liberal by-election organiser saying proudly that he had voted in every Liberal by-election."

He could also have been thinking of the LD councillor jailed in 2001 for leading the biggest ever vote fraud in British history.

I'm not claiming that all LDs are criminals, nor do I claim that the LD party encourages such criminality, merely that electoral fraud always has gone on and always will go on.

John seems less concerned with democracy and more interested in getting party political ammunition. No comment I see about the alleged behaviour of some of the defeated candidates in Bordesley.
 
So... once again the Hemming focus changes. Now he is apparently not interested in who passed the law... whereas earlier in the post he said..."My allegation is that the Labour Party in parliament changed the law (true) which had the effect of making it more easy to fiddle elections (true)."

Now he suspects his Lib Dem colleagues also changed the law (true) which apparently encouraged fiddling, that suddenly doesn't become the concern any more. John, as I have said before, whilst you continue to try to wriggle off hooks you have impaled yourself on, no-one will trust you.
 
The problem lies with the law.

The law needs to be changed.

The Labour Party have a majority in parliament. I accept that some in the Lib Dems went along with these proposals initially, but a few years ago they recognised the error of their ways.

Exactly which way everyone voted in Parliament I am unsure.

I have not made that much of a comment about the PJP candidates in Bordelsey Green. They did chase me across Birmingham at one stage and did "assault" me in Station Road Police Station, Stechford.

However, what I want to see is an electoral system that has checks and balances and ensures that the choice of the voters wins not the biggest fraudsters.
 
But John... that is EXACTLY what is happening. The Lib Dems and Tories voted to extend the postal voting system as recommended by the Electoral Commission's (with someone called Alan Beith, you might have heard of him, representing Parliament) proposals. After the experience of last year's elections and the fiasco on all-out postal voting as you will see from Hansard, the Government have said: "

Mr. Viggers: Yes, the Electoral Commission will develop proposals for a foundation model, as suggested in its report, "Delivering Democracy", and it will report before 31 March 2005. It will consult with interested individuals, including Members and political parties, as the development work gets under way next year. The model is expected to build on the benefits of all-postal voting but also to retain use of polling stations. As for legislation, as the hon. Gentleman will well know, that is a matter for the Government and the House."

So the Electoral Commission are reviewing the position and will report back after consulting with ALL Parties, because as the Lib Dem Spokesperson said in the Lords: "No one party should be able to change the voting system in opposition to others and without the approval of the Electoral Commission."

So... be clear... YOUR Party agreed to the changes to the legislation, and the GOVERNMENT has asked the Electoral Commission to review the situation.

Game, set and match. You lose!
 
>Game, set and match. You lose!

I was initially a relatively lone voice on electoral fraud. Given the increases in the amounts of fraud my lone voice has been added to.

My key argument is that the current system is unacceptable and needs to be changed urgently.

I have not bothered to review exactly what the Lib Dems have done on this issue in the past. I, together with Lord Greaves, have put some effort into ensuring that we did take integrity into account.

My key difficulty has been proving the level of fraud. Once that has been proven (about a month from now) then will be the question as to what is or is not acceptable to people generally.

I last spoke to a senior Lib Dem last week who shared my concern on the matter.

I am, however, not a clone of Charles Kennedy.

The key argument as far as I am concerned is not about who did what, but that the current situation is unacceptable.

The secondary argument then relates to how we got here and why Labour Activists are so resistant to change.
 
That at last IS your key argument and one which I would expect almost everyone involved in politics to share. I wasn't where you started out though. That was an insistence that Labour (either the Government or the Party) had deliberately changed the electoral system to their own advantage and to encourage corruption. I am pleased to see you have now accepted that the Government (and other Parties) having experienced last year's postal voting systems have asked the Electoral Committee to review the situation and come back with proposals. I certainly do not accuse the Lib Dems of corruption because some of their individual members have behaved corruptly, and if you had an ounce of decency you wouldn't make unsubstantiated claims about Labour Party members. If you have evidence that Albert Bore and his colleagues, or Tony Blair and his, actually endorsed what was going on you should pass it to the police.

On that basis I would expect you to retract "My allegation is that the Labour Party in parliament changed the law (true) which had the effect of making it more easy to fiddle elections (true) being aware that such a change in the law would benefit Labour (true)" on the basis that it is not (true).
 
>My allegation is that the Labour >Party in parliament changed the >law (true)
This is true. Most people would be innocent as to what is going on.

>which had the effect of making it >more easy to fiddle elections
>(true)
This is also true.

>being aware that such a change in
>the law would benefit Labour
>(true)"
I would accept that the benefit for most people would be seen as the increase in probability of Labour supporters votes being cast.

I accept (and have made it clear elsewhere in this blog) that it is unlikely there was a conscious awareness in the majority of this change being linked to Labour fiddling elections.

On the issue of passing information to the police I have now reviewed the police evidence and should not comment on the details of that as yet. It is, however, the case that of the 50+ issues passed to the police I was previously aware of a large proportion (probably the majority) and was primarily responsible for passing them to the police.

There is more to the story here not least what the police called the operation that related to election offences.

Therefore, I will not retract the statement although I proffer the above expansion.
 
The Labour Party in Parliament changed the law. Please read carefully: Not true. The House of Commons, supported by all Parties accepted the recommendations of the Electoral Commission and passed the legislation.

All your argument thereafter, falls.
 
This change in law predated the creation of the Electoral Commission

I am not referring to the most Representation of the People Statutory Instrument (not quite sure of the year) which I have arguments with, but was not the big problem.
 
So when eas the pareticular change of legislation you are referring to?
 
Too much wine there I think. That should have read:
When was the particular piece of legislation passed that you are referring to?
 
I think it was the RPA2000. The point about this is that the situation started iffy (and applied at the last General Election) and has got substantially worse.

I personally think offering bribes to postmen for postal votes and making bloodcurdling threats to them should not be part of election campaigns. This was in the press.

One estimate is that 2,500 ballot papers (7,500 local votes and 2,500 European) in Bordesley Green were fraudulent in some way.

I accept entirely that all parties do some fiddling somewhere in the country. I still hold the Majority Party in the House of Commons responsible for the law.
 
...but you cannot hold the moral high ground if your own party not only enthusistically supported the legislative change, but through Alan Beith actually made the case for the changes. There are a number of things the Government have don (i.e. Iraq) where I disagree with them and think the Liberals can be sanctamonious about. But to try to do so, and blame Labour, when your own party supported it is what the electorate call "having your cake and eating it". It is quite rightly perceived by the electorate as shifty and hypocritical, and is the major reason the Lib Dems will never achieve sufficient support to govern the country.
 
People made a mistake. The mistake needs to be corrected. My criticism of Labour rests with a refusal to admit that the mistake was made in the first instance.

In fact Labour have undermined many of the checks and balances in the system.

The problem is that the current procedures are inclined to corrupt people.
 
Why then, would the Government ask the Elewctoral Commission for a review if they had not admitted there may have been a mistake. You still fail to accept that it was not Labour that was responsible. If all parties "made a mistake" why do you persist in suggesting that Labour did it deliberately to encourage corruption, because if they did, so did your Lib Dem colleagues. Of course I understand a man desperate to climb the greasy pole would not want to upset them... so perhaps instead of alleging corruption you should hold your peace.
 
I think most people were innocent. I do not think all of them were.

In any event the challenge is to get things right. It may surprise you, but there is likely to be a general election soon :-)
 
Don't give up the day job. By the way, one of my constituents tells me they have a photograph of you going into a Bearwood solicitors about a year ago... a solicitors which has a link with a prominent PJP person. Are they telling me porkies?
 
I have worked with Fatima Patwa for many years and it was me that suggested to the PJP that they should use her for Election work.

I thought it was worth having a firm of lawyers who have experience in dealing with electoral matters.

I drafted the Aston petition, but I have been advising the PJP and Fatima Patwa.

I want the Law changed so that we have democracy based upon the secret ballot. I will even help Labour people who have suffered.

It is interesting, however, that I was photographed visiting FP&Co. I have been there on numerous occasions, but I don't remember going in a year ago.
 
Is there a relationship between those solicitors and your co-tv personality, Raghib Hassan?
 
Raghib Ahsan, who used to be a Labour Councillor and won a case against the Labour Party was a PJP candidate in the local elections.

Apart from that I don't think there is any link, but don't hold me to it.
 
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