Tories call for votes fiasco probe

CONSERVATIVES in Ipswich are today considering taking legal action against the borough after the lost votes fiasco revealed by The Evening Star last month.

CONSERVATIVES in Ipswich are today considering taking legal action against the borough after the lost votes fiasco revealed by The Evening Star last month.

The borough is due to debate how council leaders handled the lost postal votes at a special meeting tonight .

However the town's Tories believe election rules may have been broken when ballot papers were opened to ensure the result of last May's election would not have been changed had they been included.

"We are also considering reporting chief executive James Hehir to the local government ombudsman and the borough solicitor to the Law Society," said Tory agent Ben Redsell.

"But we want to hear their explanations about what happened to the postal votes before we start any action."

Mr Redsell said the Conservative's concerns were focussed on the decision to open the postal votes without adequate notice to candidates and their agents.

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He thought that was an infringement of election law - and would be talking to an independent solicitor about it.

"Our main concern - and something we will be looking for an assurance about - is that there are no other postal votes hidden in any remote corners of Civic Centre.

"We also want to be satisfied that nothing like this can ever happen again," he said.

Mr Hehir said today that there had been a complete search of Civic Centre to ensure there were no more ballot papers, and procedures had been introduced to ensure a similar situation would not happen again.

The ballots had only been opened after he had spoken to the country's leading expert in election law – and only after all the political leaders, including Tory group leader Stephen Barker, had agreed to open them.

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