Yes campaign flouts referendum rules says local MP

November 26, 2008 5:39 PM
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Cheadle Constituency MP, Mark Hunter today made an official complaint to the Returning Officer of the Greater Manchester Congestion Charge Referendum regarding the Yes campaign's breach of protocol.

This complaint referred to the Yes campaign's recent leaflet which appears to be in breach of the rules of the referendum forbidding campaigners from helping residents to fill in their voting forms. The Yes campaign's leaflet currently being distributed door to door states "You should have received your voting form. If you haven't received it, or need any help completing your form, please contact the Yes campaign". This leaflet was distributed despite the official Code of Conduct for the Referendum published by the Returning Officer stating that, it is "never acceptable to offer to help anyone actually complete their ballot paper".

Mr Hunter contacted Sir Neil McIntosh, the Returning Officer, to officially complain about this leaflet which contravenes the most fundamental rules of the referendum, and to call for him to take strong action against the Yes campaign.

Speaking on this matter Mr Hunter said, "It's been one gaff after another for the last few weeks while the Yes campaign get ever more desperate and their central argument falls apart.

"I'm shocked that the Yes campaign has so blatantly broken the most basic rules of any public vote - that all ballots should be secret and independent. These protocols were put in place to prevent fraud, but the Yes campaign doesn't seem to take them seriously. We now have no idea how many ballot forms the Yes Campaign have "helped" to fill in.

"I've spoken to Sir Neil who has promised to take action to ensure that the Yes campaign does not continue to flout the rules so that the referendum remains fair and open. The Yes campaign should accept that they have made a grave error, apologise and take any measure Sir Neil advises to ensure this referendum remains above board."

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