MP: 'Electoral corruption ignored because it takes place in Peterborough rather than trendy Tunbridge Wells'

Peterborough's Conservative MP has said his party's Government has missed an opportunity to crackdown on corrupt voting practices, particularly in cities with diverse ethic communities.

Thursday, 19th May 2016, 11:12 am
Updated Thursday, 19th May 2016, 12:15 pm
Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson. Photo: Alan Storer

Stewart Jackson, the Tory MP for Peterborough, said that while he welcomed parts of the Queen’s Speech, delivered yesterday, Wednesday May 19, there were others where the Government had “missed an opportunity”.

He suggested the Government had “missed a trick” by failing to bring forward a corruption bill, and that more notice would be given to the matter if it were an issue in the wealthy south east rather than cities like Peterborough.

“I am still very concerned... as to the practice of the misuse of postal votes, particularly the coercion of women in some minority ethnic communities, behind closed doors and those votes are effectively stolen,” he said.

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Queen Elizabeth II delivers the Queen's Speech to the House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster during the State Opening of Parliament 556386413

“Because it happens in Birmingham, in Peterborough, in Oldham, in Blackburn, people seem to turn a blind eye.

“If it was happening in Tunbridge Wells, Leatherhead, Andover or Exeter, they would not be doing so.”

He also said the lack of legislation to deal with House of Lords reform was a “regret” and that the Government should have brought forward a formal Sovereignty Bill “to defend the role of this House”.

David Cameron insisted the Government’s legislative programme was progressive and is possible because of its strong economic performance.

Queen Elizabeth II delivers the Queen's Speech to the House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster during the State Opening of Parliament 556386413

The Prime Minister drew particular attention to proposals to give households and businesses a legal right to high-speed broadband, saying it would help boost productivity and exports.

He said the Queen’s Speech was “built on strong foundations” of the deficit cut by two thirds as a share of GDP, high employment rates and an economy 13% bigger than in 2010.

Then he went on: “But I am the first to say there is far more to be done to entrench our strong economic performance.

“We want more exports, we want higher productivity, we need better infrastructure, and that is why one of the key measures in this Queen’s Speech is for the first time a universal service obligation to deliver broadband to every home and every business in our country.”

Jeremy Corbyn has warned the Government has yet to understand “cuts have their consequences” as he claimed it is continuing to fail Britain.

The Labour leader said the Conservatives have developed new policies in the Queen’s Speech which prevent the creation of a more equal society and opportunity for all.

He added it continues the failings of previous years as he also criticised the Government’s inability to meet its economic targets.

Replying to the Queen’s Speech, Mr Corbyn said the Opposition will judge the Government’s proposals against three tests - including whether it delivers a more equal society, an economy working for everyone and a society offering opportunity for all.

He said: “Sadly it appears that many of the proposals in the Queen’s

Speech militate against those aims, as have the proposals in previous years.

“Still this Government does not seem to understand that cuts have their consequences.”

Mr Corbyn went on: “When you cut adult social care it has an impact on

National Health Service accident and emergency departments.

“When you saddle young people with more debt you impede their ability to buy a home or start a family.

“When you fail to build housing and cap housing benefit then homelessness and the number of families in temporary accommodation increases.

“When you slash the budgets of local authorities then leisure centres close, libraries close, children’s centres close.

“When you close fire stations and cut firefighters’ jobs, then response times increase and more people are in danger of dying in fires.

“This austerity is a political choice, not an economic necessity, and it’s a wrong choice for our country made by a Government with the wrong priorities - and it’s women that have been hit hardest by these cuts.”