Scheme to reduce voter fraud dropped following Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya’s conviction

A scheme to stop voter fraud in Peterborough has been stopped because of city MP Fiona Onasanya’s conviction and sentence.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 5:00 am
Fiona Onasanya
Fiona Onasanya

Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya was jailed for three months in January after being convicted of perverting the course of justice at a trial in December.

Her sentence means a recall petition could be run in the city if she is unsuccessful in her appeal against her conviction - if the recall petition is signed by at least 10 per cent of the electorate, a by-election would then be called.

Last year Peterborough City Council signed up to take part in a pilot scheme to prevent voter fraud, with certain voters needing to show identification - but with the prospect of council elections in May, as well as the potential recall petition and by-election, the council have said they have now pulled out of the scheme.

A spokesperson for Peterborough City Council said: “We have spoken to the Cabinet Office about our pilot and it has been agreed that, for this year, we will not do a pilot as other election/democratic processes may have to be undertaken due to the conviction of our MP.”

The scheme included postal votes being hand delivered, with a survey asking if the person had received their vote and then a follow up to ask if they have returned their vote and to reiterate the importance of voting in secret themselves. Last year Proxy voters were asked to show ID at polling stations.

The House of Commons has been told the first hearing for Onasanya’s appeal will be heard on March 5 - although the process could take many months to conclude.

The Attorney General has also confirmed he is reviewing the sentence after complaints it was too lenient.