A Yorkshire MP has warned police are failing to investigate allegations of serious electoral fraud by members of the region’s Asian population due to fears over “community sensitivities”.
Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell told the House of Commons the Savile Town area of his constituency has grown accustomed to “annual allegations of voter fraud and intimidation” – but that police are apparently failing to act for cultural reasons.
The Tory MP, who is also a local barrister, drew parallels with the recent child-grooming case in Rochdale, warning the lesson must be learned that “all communities must be treated equally”.
He said: “When asked to take this year’s (voter fraud) allegations seriously, the complaint is the police referred to ‘community sensitivities’ and showed a reluctance to engage which has also defined their response in previous years.
“Why is that? Because all those said to be involved are from Savile Town’s Asian community.
“It is hugely insulting to the vast majority of the community in Savile Town that the police appear reluctant to act.”
Mr Reevell said he had witnessed “downright ugly” practices by “a relatively small number of individuals” in his constituency.
“In 2010 I saw the intimidation for myself. I witnessed groups of young men outside the polling station, whispering, spitting, gesturing, milling around, pushing in front of me,” he said.
“Having to leave a group of people to guard cars should not be part of polling day – nor should warnings to stay away.”
Mr Reevell was speaking last night in a debate over proposed electoral reform laws which are designed to tighten up voter registration rules and clamp down on possible fraud.