Friday, 24 September 2010

What to do with spare minutes

Easy: make a formal complaint about Paul Uppal MP to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. I wonder whether he feels the years until the next election (2015) stretching out like a prison sentence.

I would like to draw your attention to the statement made by Mr Paul Uppal MP (reference: Hansard • Citation: HC Deb, 15 September 2010, c896)
Paul Uppal (Wolverhampton South West) (Con): Without simply reiterating the sentiments expressed by my hon. Friends the Members for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) and for Chichester (Mr Tyrie), I ask the Minister to take on board my deep concern about postal voting fraud. Although I welcome individual registration, I fear that it will not wholly tackle that problem, to which I have referred before.

15 Sep 2010 : Column 897
In my constituency-I must choose my words carefully, because the case is currently being investigated by the Electoral Commission-200 more votes were cast than electoral ballots were issued. I want to impress on the Minister a point that was raised with me recently by a constituent. He said that Labour Members were going from door to door asking if people wanted them to help them to fill out postal voting forms.

I am concerned that Mr Uppal (who has repeatedly made reference to being the victim of electoral fraud) has knowingly or unconsciously misled the house. 
I contacted the Electoral Commission to ask about investigations relating to Wolverhampton South West in the 2010 General Election. Their reply (September 17th), which I reproduce below, makes it clear that they investigated an 'error' - not electoral fraud -  and the problem was resolved with the acquiescence of all the candidates. 

Dear Mr. Vole,

Thank you for your email to the Electoral Commission.
The Commission is not investigating any allegation of fraud in Wolverhampton South West. We made initial enquiries about an error in the count at the 2010 general election. However the matter was closed with no further action as a result of all parties accepting the result of the count.
I hope this answers your question and please let me know if you require any further information.
Kind Regards
Iredia Oboh 
Public Information Adviser 
The Electoral Commission 
Trevelyan House 
Great Peter Street 
London SW1P 2HW 
Tel: 020 7271 0592 
Fax: 020 7271 0505 

They told me in a subsequent email that they have written to Mr Uppal to remind him of the situation. 
I can only infer that Mr Uppal knew that an inquiry into an error had been opened, and agreed that the matter was closed, yet chose to claim otherwise in the House. I wrote to him on an earlier date to ask whether he has reported his suspicions of electoral fraud to the police, but he has not replied. The local press contains no references to complaints or inquiries.
I am concerned that Mr Uppal has abused his position as a Member to pursue some kind of political vendetta without regard for truth or accuracy, and I would be grateful if you could investigate the matter. 
Update: hello again Tory Central Office - nice of you to drop by.  

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