Whilst the government presses on with trialling a variety of pilot schemes across the country that are aimed a better securing our vote from fraud, Slough Labour continues its long journey this week from supporting such schemes to outright objection to them.
The timeline of Labour's u-turn stand testament to their lack of willingness to work to combat this growing problem locally here in Slough...
- In response to a government review by Sir Eric Pickles in December 2016, the government announced a series of pilots aimed at trying to better secure our vote from well documented fraud, such as that surrounding voter intimidation, postal voting fraud and double-voting:
- In January 2017 at a meeting of the full council, the Labour group at the Slough Council unanimously supported a motion put by Conservative group councillors that:
- Welcomed the Government’s announcement in December 2016 that it will introduce a number of measures to combat electoral fraud, in response to Sir Eric Pickles’ independent report ‘Securing the Ballot’
- Encouraged the Council’s Returning Officer to work with the Cabinet Office to ensure that Slough bids to be involved in a pilot scheme to trial recommendations such as piloting the use of ID in polling stations across Slough at the next Local Government elections in 2018.
- In September 2017, the Labour group had a dramatic u-turn on it's decision with then Labour council leader Cllr Munawar putting a motion to council withdrawing Slough from schemes - and even used the whip to force his councillors to support the motion. Even a significant minority of Labour councillors disagreed with their own leadership, and at the council meeting 2 Labour councillors did go against the whip, and 10 other abstained.
- In May 2018 Slough took part in minor trials relating only to random checks of postal voters at the doorsteps.
- In February 2019 Labour Councillor Preston Brooker claimed on Twitter that, despite all the evidence to the contrary, stating "Voter ID has the opposite effect. It can stop the old and young from voting and is undemocratic!", pushing the Slough Labour Party even further away from supporting the combat against electoral fraud.
We at Slough Conservatives are clear - we must do everything we can to trial different ways of reducing electoral fraud. The Electoral Commission itself published figures for 2017 this time last year showing that only one conviction was upheld on the basis of hundreds of complaints - proving our current processes just do not work, and need reform.
We will continue to support efforts to include Slough in any pilots, and will continue to work with the government to ensure that any changes not only reduce and combat fraud, but are also fair and just. We will not just walk away like Slough Labour.
Lee Pettman - Chair, Slough Conservatives
Cllr. Wayne Strutton - Leader, Slough Conservative Group