Nigel Farage and The Brexit Party demand investigation into Labour’s slim win at Peterborough by-election amid allegations of ‘vote-rigging’ as they call for postal vote reform
- The Brexit Party wants the existing postal voting system to be changed
- Nigel Farage believes at the moment the system is ‘wide open to corruption’
- Brexit Party says there are ‘rumours’ of ‘vote-rigging’ in Peterborough
- Labour beat Mr Farage’s party by just 683 votes on June 6 to hold onto seat
The Brexit Party is demanding an investigation into the hotly-contested Peterborough by-election amid allegations of voting impropriety during Labour’s narrow victory.
Nigel Farage’s party is expected to hand over evidence of alleged wrongdoing in the run up to the contest which took place on June 6 to the police in the coming weeks.
Mr Farage insisted it was not a case of ‘sour grapes’ after his party was beaten by just 683 votes but a desire to improve the voting system overall which he said is ‘wide open to corruption’.
Party chairman Richard Tice said there had been numerous ‘rumours’ including of ‘vote-rigging’ in Peterborough.
The Brexit Party wants the existing system of postal voting to be changed before the next election because of fears it can be abused, with voters potentially bribed or intimidated into backing a certain candidate.
Cambridgeshire Police has already said no offences have been revealed in respect to one allegation of bribery and two relating to postal votes during an ongoing investigation into the by-election.
Nigel Farage (pictured today at a press conference held by The Brexit Party in London) said it was not a case of ‘sour grapes’ as he called for an investigation into the Peterborough by-election
Much of the Brexit Party’s concerns about the Peterborough by-election relate to the alleged involvement of Tariq Mahmood in Labour candidate Lisa Forbes’ campaign.
Eleven years ago Mahmood was sentenced to 15 months in jail after he was charged with forgery and conspiracy to defraud in relation to local elections in the city.
At the time of the elections Mahmood was the secretary of a local Labour Party branch. He denied the allegations.
In a presentation to a London press conference on Monday, Mr Tice claimed there was evidence that Mahmood had acted as an agent for the Labour Party in the run up to the by-election.
Mr Tice called for ‘answers’ and said his party would lodge a petition under the Representation of the People Act 1983 later this week.
Mr Tice asked: ‘How much did Lisa Forbes, the elected MP, know that she had a convicted electoral fraudster in her team who would count as an agent?’
He added: ‘There are so many questions, we need answers. The only mechanism available to us to get those answers is to lodge a petition under the Representation of the People Act 1983 and we will be doing that this week.’
Mr Farage said the existing voting system needed to be improved to ensure voters have confidence in it.
Richard Tice, the chairman of The Brexit Party, said ‘answers’ were needed into allegations of voter fraud as he demanded an overhaul of the current system
‘Postal votes is a very major part of that,’ he said.
‘It’s about a system that is wide open to corruption, to intimidation, to bribery, to abuse on a whole number of levels.’
He continued: ‘If you say it’s sour grapes, you can say it, but actually it is time for change and my ambition would be that by the next general election to get rid of the current postal vote system.’
However, Mr Farage suggested that any changes to the postal voting system should ensure that the option of voting remotely is still available to wheelchair users and overseas service personnel.
Cambridgeshire Police continue to investigate two allegations – one of a breach of the privacy of the vote and one of the burning of ballots – made in relation to the by-election held earlier this month.
Jeremy Corbyn and Lisa Forbes, the newly elected Labour MP for Peterborough, managed to hold onto the seat by just 683 votes after former Labour MP Fiona Onasanya was kicked out
But the force has announced that no offences were found over allegations of bribery relating to postal votes.
Postal votes played a major part in the overall result in Peterborough, accounting for almost 10,000 of the 33,998 ballots received.
Some 400 postal votes were rejected because of problems relating to signatures and date of births not matching official records.
The Peterborough by-election was called after disgraced former Labour MP Fiona Onasanya was ousted by her constituents after being jailed in January for lying about a speeding offence.
Labour has previously rejected the suggestion that Mr Mahmood was involved in Ms Forbes’ campaign.
They branded the allegations ‘false and baseless’ and said he was ‘not involved in the running of Labour’s campaign in any way’.
The Labour Party has been contacted for comment in relation to The Brexit Party’s demand for an investigation.