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Labour abandons ballot box tampering inquiry – finger print evidence ignored

Labour’s national executive yesterday resolved to abandon its investigation into the tampering with a ballot box containing members votes in the Erith and Thamesmead parliamentary selection last year, in spite of a clear male fingerprint being discovered on ripped-up ballot papers. The discovery that the ballot box which had been stored in a cupboard at Labour headquarters in Victoria Street, London, had been broken into and papers inside had been destroyed led to the suspension of the selection process in April 2009. The selection process had already been widely criticised because of accusations that the 22-year-old daughter of Tony Blair’s former pollster, Lord Gould, was being parachuted into the safe Labour seat. Eventually, local members selected local left-wing activist Theresa Pearce.

The investigation was led by former party chair, Cath Speight, and revealed that the culprit appeared to be a male staff member since (i) the ballot box was stored in a cupboard to which visitors to the building could not have had access, and (ii) the finger print was evidently that of a male. Representatives of staff unions were consulted with a view to asking staff members to agree to having their fingerprints taken. One of these union reps was Hilary Perrin, representing senior managers and herself close to Margaret McDonagh, former General Secretary whose PR company is said to have assisted Geaorgia Gould’s campaign. Ms Perrin objected that this would be an infringement of the civil liberties of staff. As a result, the matter was referred to the police, but they responded that they could not act because it was not clear that a criminal act had taken place!

Although the matter has now been abandoned by the national executive, party members in Erith and Thamesmead will no doubt press for further action to be taken.

The tampering occurred in what is thought to be the only occasion that a Labour parliamentary selection ballot box has ever been stored at Labour’s HQ. It was decided to keep it there because party officials claimed that lay officials from the local party “could not be trusted” to manage the selection process.

4 Comments

  1. Columbo says:

    Just one question. How is a fingerprint “evidently that of a male”?

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      I understand that this conclusion was that of an expert advisor. A quick web search reveals research that gender determination by fingerprint is 91% accurate – but presumably, in some cases, the margin of error may be lower (e.g. based on size).

  2. danny says:

    Its time this is all put to sleep, we have a amazing MP now leave it at that.

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