Sunday, May 08, 2005

Vote fraud in Jack Straw's constituency?

Raj Bannerji, in PressEsc, alleges that on 8 May 2005 police officers in the Blackburn constituency accused UK Foreign secretary Jack Straw of trying to meddle with the investigations into large-scale vote rigging carried out by Labour Party supporters.

Bannerji claims that "Mr. Straw was previously accused of perverting the course of justice during his tenure as Home Secretary to keep his son and brother out of jail."

The anonymous police officers "allege that supporters of Mr. Straw within the higher echelons of the force are hampering their investigations into allegations of postal vote fraud".

Allegedly the police officers found that at least three-quarters of the 20,351 postal vote applications in the constituency are bogus.

In 2002, Blackburn Labour councilor Muhammed Hussain was jailed for postal vote fraud in that years’ local elections.

This year, Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates have complained about election fraud in Blackburn.

Independent candidate Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, reportedly wrote to the Electoral Commission to tell them of widespread reports of vote rigging.

Mr. Straw said: “We had a terrific victory and the fact of the victory is down to the strength of the Blackburn Labour party.”

Allegedly one police officer said: “The strength he is referring to is not the electoral strength. It is the strength of the workers of his vote factory.”

The Foreign Secretary’s son William Straw faced criminal proceedings in 1998 after reportedly selling cannabis to an undercover reporter. He was let off with a caution by the police.

Jack Straw’s brother was convicted of indecently assaulting a school girl in 2000. He escaped prison after paying a 'nominal' fine.

It was alleged in both cases that the then Home Secretary Straw used his powers to pervert the course of justice and members of the public petitioned the Parliamentary Commissioner For Standards In Public Life to conduct an impartial investigation into the matter.

No action has been taken against Mr. Straw regarding the allegations to date.

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