“As the regulator of British elections and political parties, the Electoral Commission must be genuinely impartial and transparent. If the forthcoming EU referendum is to go smoothly, there can be no suspicion of malpractice or misconduct. The Electoral Commission’s current construct raises too many questions over competence and partiality,” warned 4 Freedoms Party (UK EPP) leader Dirk Hazell: “Party political appointees must be replaced by neutral judicial and regulatory experts.”
“With British democracy changing, legitimate new parties must be able to trust the Electoral Commission's integrity and reliability: we cannot.” noted Hazell: “After months of opaque conspiracy inside the Commission, our party was discriminatorily and peremptorily banned, with no wrongdoing alleged. This brazen denial of democracy reveals unacceptable levels of internal incompetence and bias.”
“Following Freedom of Information requests, evidence of Government intervention must also now be explained”, Hazell urged: “When the Electoral Commission finally contacted us, their letter proved misleading – with at least five subsequent changes over what was supposed to be done! The Electoral Commission never demonstrated that their conduct was lawful. In fact, our Queen’s Counsel - and, we now know, the Commission’s external legal Counsel - saw no lawful basis for what the Commission did.”
“In tomorrow’s (Mon - 24 Aug) detailed letter to the Electoral Commission Chair we raise more than 20 questions. The invaluable Freedom of Information process helped uncover how the Electoral Commission is failing in its duties as watchdog and regulator. We actively considered litigation, but the Commission’s unlawful action and other delaying tactics in early 2015 had already effectively knocked us out of the General Election”, observed Hazell.
The Electoral Commission’s wider record is mixed, leading to other calls for fundamental reform. “The electoral watchdog’s shockingly muted reaction to administrative mass disqualification of non-British EU voters in the 2014 European election (70% fewer were duly registered than in 2009 according to evidence received by the Select Committee) sends the wrong signal to any future Government tempted to make it harder for other ‘inconvenient’ minorities to register or vote in referendums or elections,” said Hazell.
Hazell concluded: “Fundamental reform of the Electoral Commission - not scrapping - is the answer. We welcome the Law Commission’s current examination of the increasingly complex, fragmented and difficult to use Electoral law in the UK.” - A full text of the Party’s letter to the Electoral Commission with a chronological attachment and links to relevant source material is available via this hyperlink.