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24 May 2005 : Column 90W—continued

Judicial Appointments

Keith Vaz: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many judicial appointments the Lord Chancellor has made since 1 March; and whom he has appointed. [389]

Harriet Harman: The Lord Chancellor has made 449 judicial appointments since 1 March 2005. A table detailing the names of those appointed, and the posts to which they were appointed to, has been placed in the Library of both Houses.

Lay Magistrates

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many people applied to become lay magistrates between 1997 and 2001; and how many were accepted. [293]

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Harriet Harman: The information can be found in the following table.
Number of applicantsNumber
Calendar year
Financial year

Records of the number of people who applied to become a magistrate were not collected centrally prior to 2001.

Figures for the number of people who were appointed in 2000 are not available. Collection of figures in 2000 changed from the calendar year to the financial year, no figures were published because of the three month gap January to March 2000.

David Davis: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the budgeted departmental expenditure is for legal aid in asylum and immigration cases for 2005–06. [305]

Bridget Prentice: The budgeted expenditure for 2005–06 is £98 million.

Lord Chief Justice

Keith Vaz: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs when she will announce the name of the next Lord Chief Justice. [390]

Harriet Harman: There is currently no vacancy in the Office of Lord Chief Justice. If in the future a vacancy does occur, the procedure will be that my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor will advise the Prime Minister, who will make a recommendation to Her Majesty. Once the Queen has approved the appointment, it will be announced by the Prime Minister's Office.

Postal Votes

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether the Government plans to hold an inquiry into the use of postal votes during the 2005 general election. [340]

Harriet Harman: The Electoral Commission, under Section 5 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, has a statutory duty to report on the administration of all parliamentary general elections. We would expect their report on the 2005 general election to include analysis of the administration of postal voting, as was the case with their report on the 2001 general election.

Additionally, information about postal votes at the 2005 general election will be included in The Electoral Commission's report on participation and turnout, to be released later in the summer.
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The Government currently have no plans for a separate inquiry into postal voting, but they will be discussing proposals for improvements to security with stakeholders.

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what discussions her Department has had with electoral returning officers on (a) electoral fraud and (b) administrative errors involving postal votes. [343]

Harriet Harman: Throughout the general election period, we held daily discussions with representatives of electoral returning officers about the progress of the elections. An advisory board for the general election was set up in October 2004 to discuss the running of the general election.

Members of the group included electoral administrators and we will be holding an evaluation meeting to discuss the recent election, including the experience of postal voting. We have also arranged a number of meetings with electoral administrators to discuss the postal voting security measures announced after the general election.

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will list the petitions made to Election Commissioners concerning allegations of electoral fraud involving postal votes since 1997; and what the findings of the Election Commissioners were in each case. [412]

Harriet Harman: A list of all petitions issued since 1997 in parliamentary, European and municipal elections is as follows. Those petitions that are recorded as "lapsed" are due to non payment of security for costs and as a result are not commonly in the public domain.

There have been a total of 37 election petitions issued since 1997:

High Court judges, will hear trials involving a parliamentary or European petition.

They may assign a municipal petition to be heard by a Commissioner.

As the table of petitions indicates, there have been only two trials before a Commissioner (in the Aston and Bordesley Green Wards, Birmingham city council).

Details of petitions are entered into two separate registers. These registers do not contain sufficient information to state which petitions specifically related to allegations of electoral fraud involving postal votes in every case.

The brief grounds and results of petitions have been indicated in the following table.
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14 May1997DagenhamRichard Henry DawsonJack ThomasR/O negligent in that he accepted nominations from non-electors etc.Lapsed
15 May 1997WinchesterGerald MaloneMark Oaten, Lindsey Garrett FoxQuality of ballot papers rejected for want of official mark and rejected ballot papers disputedSpecial case 6 October 1997. Petition allowed
22 May1997North East BedfordshireAshley LeggettSir Nicholas Walter Lyell QC, George CoatesSir Nicholas Walter Lyell formerly Peter Rubery Hayward prevented from standing as a candidate by interim injunction obtained by Sir Nicholas Walter Lyell QCLapsed
10 August 2001RomfordPeter Brian ThorogoodAndrew RosindellOffences contrary to s 113 (i) and (2)(b)of RPA1983 (no details given)Lapsed
14 June 2004Eastern EnglandJohn James NaisbittDavid MonksVariousStruck out 30 July 2004
Local government
15 September 1997Pakenham Ward of St. EdmundsburyLisa Francis CouperLynn Aisbett, Valerie Ann WhiteVotes cast for petition wrongly recorded by
Special case 17 October 1997. Petition allowed. Second respondent not duly elected. Petitioner should have been declared duly elected.
6 May 1999Daneside Ward of Seaham town councilSteven Paul ColbonGeraldine Bleasdale, John Henry Bleasdale, James Dickinson Edwards, Toni Robson, Marion Florence Wood, James SheeninNomination rejected as invalidSpecial case 30 July 1999 Petition dismissed. Issued out of time
26 May 1999Selby central ward, Selby district councilWendy Ruth NichollsMelanie Ann Davis, Richard Kenneth Fogden, Martin ConnorVotes incorrectly countedSpecial case 30 July 1999. Petition allowed. Election valid. Second respondent not elected. Petitioner elected
26 May 1999Creneswater ward of Southsea parish councilSimon James CattermoleNicola Vanessa Bentley, Rubayat Rahman Choud, David Heaven, Roger James, Nick GurneyVotes incorrectly countedSpecial case 30 July 1999 Petition allowed. Election valid. Fourth respondent not elected. Petitioner elected.
27 May 1999Longfield ward of Dartford borough councilAlistair Samuel JordanRobert John Dunn, Albert Raymond Bassum, Jeremy Alan Kite, Christopher ShepherdCandidate disqualified for standing(did not occupy property within area for whole of previous 12 monthsLapsed
27 May 1999Aston ward, Birmingham district councilGabra MiahAhmed Iftikhar1. Illegal practice, respondent published false statements about petition.
2. Corrupt practice, third party included unauthorised election expenses.
3. Invalid nomination of fellow candidate
11 November 1999 Commissioner application to dismiss by respondent. Allowed. Petition dismissed. Trial date vacated.
27 May 1999Parish of BailestonRuth Marjorie DicksonRobert Charles Bailey and orsVotes incorrectly countedSpecial case 15 December 1999. Petition allowed. Election valid. Fifteenth respondent not elected. Tenth respondent elected.
27 May 1999Rossington West ward of Rossington parish councilBarry JohnsonNicholas Dobson, Doreen Appleby and orsVotes incorrectly countedSpecial case 30 July 1999. Petition allowed. Election valid. Second respondent not elected. Petitioner elected.
25 May 1999Haughton EastLeslie UptonDavid Lynotte and 8 orsUndue influence impeding free exercise of franchise by use of Cabinet Minister and ors officials to influence votersLapsed
20 April 2000South East ward of Knighton town council in PowysJanice Geraldine HarrisAngus John Gilmore, Jackie TongeVotes incorrectly counted (some not counted)Special case 11 December 2000. Petition allowed. Election valid. First respondent not elected. Petitioner elected.
20 May 2000Parish of Bracknell ward of Bracknell town councilWalter Alfred ThompsonSusan Margaret Thompson, Gordon MitchellVotes incorrectly countedSpecial case 25 July 2000. Petition allowed. Election valid. First respondent not elected. Petitioner elected.
25 May 2000Sparkhill ward of Birmingham city councilEmily Cox, Amen Ellachi, Akhlag Ahmed, Tony King,Jagdip Rai and chief executive of Birmingham city councilPersonation, error, treating, bribery, undue influence overspending election expenses25 July 2000 Application to strike out on grounds of late service of petition. Dismissed
25 May 2000Nicholls ward, Birmingham city councilAbdul MalikMohammed Mansoor and Returning OfficerVoters abroad shown as having votedLapsed
27 June 2001South Ribble North-West electoral division of Lancashire county councilPeter Terence WakelingAnthony Edward Pimblett, Max WinterbottomBallot papers for another electoral division handed out to some voters in error.Special case 5 October 2001. Petition allowed. Election void. First respondent not duly elected.
27 June 2001Ellogen North electoral division, Redruth, CornwallTerence Alan RowePaul Thomas Holmes, Geoffrey Gordon Cox, Adam John Beer, Noel Hutchinson2 votes included wronglySpecial case 18 December 2001 Petition allowed. Election void. First respondent not duly elected.
22 May 2002Sands End ward of London borough of Hammersmith and FulhamColin George PavelinRichard Harbord, Stephen James HamiltonBallot papers rejected for want of official mark affected resultSpecial case 31 July 2002. Petition allowed. Election void. Second respondent not duly elected.
23 May 2002Aston ward, city of BirminghamNain AhmedAnthony Paul Kennedy, Stewart DobsonSuccessful candidate made false statements about petitions for purpose of affecting the result and/or alleged irregularities regarding opening of postal votes4 October 2002 Petition struck out against second respondent 11 October 2002 Petition struck out against first respondent
23 May 2002Little Horton ward of Bradford metropolitan borough councilJamshed KhanTaj Mubarik Salam, Ian J StewartError in counting votes29 November 2002 Petition dismissed.
23 May 2002Cheetham ward, city of ManchesterHabib Ullah, Mohammed Sabir, Basten Ahmed Misbah BegumMartin Donald Pagel, Andrew ScallenRequests for proxy votes ignored, personation, delay in taking ballot box to council, comments by first respondent during campaign.11 October 2002 Petition struck out.
23 May 2002Peckham ward, London borough of SouthwarkMike Jinnah Rahman, Annette Pallas, Natalie AjeonBarrie John Hargrove, William Kayada, Tayo Adelane SituMarked register missing, Ballot box late arriving at court, count started before candidates arrived, voters removed from register, confusion over postal votes29 November 2002 Petition dismissed with consent of first petitioner on behalf of co petitioners.
21 May 2003Belle Vale and Hasbury ward, metropolitan borough of DudleyMartin Christopher KnightJill Cheryl Nicholls, Andrew SparkeFailure by R/O to ensure issued ballot papers were delivered in accordance with Part V of Rep of People Regulations 200119 December 2003 petition dismissed
21 May 2003St. Helens borough council in the parish of Sereley GreenSandra ClearyJoan Davies, Peter BlackburnVotes miscountedSpecial case 17 October 2003 Election void, Joan Davies not duly elected.
21 May 2003College ward of Wansbeck district councilJames SawyerMichael Raymond Kirkup, Robert StephensonVotes miscounted block of votes wrongly allocated to candidatesSpecial case 17 October 2003 Election void, first respondent not duly elected. Petitioner duly elected.
21 May 2003Broughton and Appleby ward, North Lincolnshire district councilKenneth Anthony EdgellIvan Glover, Michael GarnettBallot papers in respect of postal voter wrongly counted(did not bear signature and authentication of voter4 November 2003 Petition granted. Election void. Ivan Glover not duly elected
23 May 2003Hartley parish councilTrevor Royston ModellChristopher AlfordFalse statements against petitioner issued by respondent calculated to affect petitioners prospects of being re-electedLapsed
28 May 2003Lightwater ward, borough of Surrey-HeathLindsey FellowsMalcolm Bell, Dorothy Drummond, Peter Edward, Harper, Alan Clevely, Mr. GhandumElection circulation delivered by Royal Mail to constituents in contravention of RP Act31 July 2003 Permission to withdraw granted
28 May 2003Windlesham parish council( Lightwater wardLindsey FellowsSurinder Ghandum, Alan ClevelyElection circulation delivered by Royal Mail to constituents in contravention of RP Act31 July 2003 Permission to withdraw granted
23 June 2004Aston ward, Birmingham city councilAyaz Iqbal, Nagmen Mir, Qadeer Ahmed, Naser IqbalMohammed Islam, Muhammed Afzal, Mohammed Kazi, Lin HomerVarious concerning postal voting4 April 2005 petition allowed, election void
29 June 2003Park ward, Calderdale metropolitan boroughC M Saghir, Shakir Saghir, Faisal SaghirM Najib and 3 orsAll postal ballot pilot failed. Breach of duty. Improper and unfair conduct22 March 2005 Petition struck out
29 June 2003Bordesley Green, Birmingham city councilJamil Akhtar and 3 orsShah Jahan and 6 orsDisputing postal ballot papers (tampering and personation4 April 2005 Petition allowed, election void
30 June 2004Derringham ward, Kingston upon HullJohn Philip ConsidineJohn DidrichsenVarious (postal ballot papers24 November 2004 election void
6 July 2004FlintshirePeter PembertonStella JonesTyrone Wilcox was disqualified from standing for election20 December 2004 petition dismissed

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